Genes and Addiction
One common misconception is that if a parent has addictive tendencies then a child will inevitably have to gain the same. However, addictive personalities aren’t defined by a single trait. They are a makeup of many different traits. And though these traits come from the parents, it’s not always the case that an addictive parent will produce an addictive child.
In fact, non-addictive parents can produce an addictive child simply due to an unfortunate chemical makeup. There are other factors to look into. Some individuals may struggle more with quitting than their parents would (or vice versa). Other individuals may feel absolutely terrible after taking a certain drug that others found amusing.
No matter what the case, one’s genetic makeup isn’t their doom for an unavoidable addiction. Besides a person’s genes, their environment plays an equally important factor in determining addiction.
Questions to Ask Concerning an Individual’s Addiction
There is no such thing as a single gene causing someone’s addiction. Rather, there are a whole set of traits and environmental factors that determine one’s susceptibility to drug abuse. It’s difficult to determine what these genes are within an individual as everyone's genetic makeup is very unique.
However, there are different areas to look into as to suppose what causes an individual to be addicted. As mentioned, their environment plays a large role. Where do they spend most of their time? What are the type of people they find themselves befriending? What do these people find most enjoyable together? These sort of questions will bring you closer to an understanding.
Yet, outside the environment, there’s also the individual’s own capabilities. How do they handle with coping? How self-disciplined are they? What truly motivates them? These are more questions to consider when determining an addiction.
The questions laid out here are only a few of the many questions an individual can be asking themselves in concerns with their addiction traits. This is why it’s important to seek out a medical professional when you really want to get to the bottom of what has caused your addictive personality.
Even still, you will come to find out that addiction is a complex disease. There are often certain genes canceling out the possibility of addiction genes and specific environmental factors you might not be all-for admitting to. Not every addict will hold the same genes and not everyone who carries the addiction gene will see similar traits. The only thing we can assure is that genes do have a substantial influence over addiction.
Addiction Within the Family
The search for a basis of one’s addictive tendencies within their genes only becomes more complicated when looking at their family. Especially, if they have a large family. We know that an individual can inherit addictive traits from their parents and we know that these traits are structured in DNA sequences. However, the complexity of the puzzle lies in an individual’s DNA.
For example, within a larger family, let’s say there’s a trait within the father’s DNA that imposes depression. His child may or may not receive this trait depending on which DNA sequence of their father they receive. With multiple children, the father will most likely pass down at least part of this DNA sequence to one child. And even if the child completely receives the trait, they may or may not give it to their children.
You can see how complex this can get, especially if we were to look at this trait sharing through generations. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that within a family, each person carries out a different life. Therefore, what one person does with their traits may be entirely different than another, even if they hold similar traits.
In terms of addiction, a person can look at a multitude of inherited traits that led to substance dependence. Likewise, they should look into how they react to these traits and the environment these traits are forced to behave in. With these factors all coinciding, the problem of addiction can be sourced and can be treated.
Looking into one’s environment will only fuel further evidence for this treatment. If others in the neighborhood or, especially, household are intaking substances, this behavior can be contagious. Certain emotional patterns may play part too. If an individual is stressed out or feeling depressed and there are drugs in their environment, you can see how one’s surroundings is an important factor of addiction.
Being this complexity, it’s important individual’s seek out professional medical attention for the sake of their own necessities. A therapist will be able to pinpoint one’s inherited traits, environmental factors, and behavior successfully. With these components in mind, the individual will be allowed to understand their addiction and begin the process of recovery.
Genes that Influence Addiction
Thanks to the wonder of modern science, researchers have discovered certain genes that trait to addiction. Through a series of tests conducted by mice, we’re able to simplify some of this complexity and understand addiction a little bit better. However, it should be noted that the traits listed here aren’t the only ones to be considered in terms of substance dependence. They are simply a sample of scientist’s discoveries.
- The A1 allele of the dopamine receptor gene DRD2. Common in those addicted to cocaine and alcohol.
- Those without the cannabinoid receptor gene Cnr1 are less responsive to substances like morphine.
- Some may be less receptive to the serotonin receptor gene Htr1b and therefore, more attractive to drugs that can heighten serotonin, like cocaine.
- Those with low levels of neuropeptide Y are more likely to drink alcohol.
- Those with a defected Per2 gene are much more likely to drink alcohol.
- People who refrain from cigarettes are more likely to have the CYP2A6 gene which causes them to react to nicotine with nausea and dizziness.
- The lack of the Creb gene has shown a link to less addiction of morphine.
As you can see, different genes have different responses to not only an individual’s addiction levels but also their response to withdrawals.
The conclusion is that genes play a highly important role in addiction and are something an individual will want to look into. Yet, genes aren’t the only factor to blame in terms of addiction. So much goes into what makes a person dependent on substances. Therefore, one should seek medically professional assistance in order to pinpoint their addiction and carry through with sobriety.
If you have more questions on the subject or have discovered a link between yourself and other family members and would like to know more, Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is here to help you. Please, give us a call at 602-535-6468 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Stonewall Institute Treatment Center on Thursday, July 27th, 2017 @ 8:54PM
Categories: Addiction Treatment Arizona, Drug Treatment Arizona
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