Addiction is a complex disease that affects the parts of the brain responsible for reward, stress, and self-control. Many individuals struggling with a substance use disorder wonder whether their addiction is hereditary. We explore the common contributing factors that can cause addiction to develop and when drug and alcohol rehab is needed.
The Role of Genetics in Drug Addiction
The structure of our genes, as well as the information inside them, dictate many things, including our eye color, behavior, and predispositions. A predisposition means the susceptibility to develop a medical condition, illness, or pattern of behavior.
The genes passed from parent to child can include a predisposition to drug addiction. However, having a predisposition to drug addiction doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will develop one; genes are only one determining factor in the development of addiction. Also, several genes influence the risk of developing a drug use disorder.
For example, a person with a predisposition to drug addiction who is also predisposed to non-conformity and impulsive tendencies may be at higher risk of hereditary drug addiction than a person having fewer predispositions.
Genetics can also play a role in addiction when they contain variations. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that provides us with feelings of reward and pleasure. As such, we want to recreate those good feelings by repeating the behavior that caused them. However, genetic variations in some individuals alter the way in which this neurotransmitter functions. When this happens, a person can develop an addiction due to the compulsive use of a substance.
Other Factors Which Influence Addiction Development
There are many other factors beyond genetics that can influence the possibility of addiction development. Environmental factors, such as childhood exposure to familial drug use, and harmful situations and peer pressure can contribute to an increased risk for drug addiction leading to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Exposure to trauma such as abandonment, abuse, and drastic loss can also result in the future development of addiction, especially if an individual also has a genetic predisposition to a substance use disorder.
Gender can also influence addiction development; women can be at a higher risk of cravings and relapse, while the likelihood of misusing a substance is higher in men.
Drug addiction can also occur when an individual suffers from a mental illness. This is classified as a co-occurring disorder. Diagnosis of co-occurring disorders can be challenging because the symptoms of addiction can appear as symptoms of mental health disorders and vice-versa.
Common disorders that can co-occur with addiction include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Whatever the causes of one’s addiction, the best solution for breaking the cycle is to seek help as soon as possible.
Holistic Addiction Treatment in South Carolina
BriteLife Recovery is a leading addiction recovery center in South Carolina. We focus on the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of addiction. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, which include detox, inpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, residential programs, aftercare programs, IOP and more by calling 888-224-7424 today to speak confidentially with a team member.