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How Your Genes Affect Your Risk of Addiction

Is addiction hereditary? It’s a question that has been debated for years. And while the answer isn’t entirely clear-cut, there is some evidence to suggest that genes may play a role in addiction. 

So if you’re struggling with addiction, it might be helpful to know if it runs in your family. And if it does, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to become an addict yourself – but it does mean that you’ll need to be extra vigilant in terms of prevention and treatment. 

Is addiction hereditary? What do we know about the role of genes in addiction? Let Genesis House help you. Keep reading to find out.

How do genes affect addiction risk factors?

It is possible to inherit diseases from your parents, including drug addiction. There is about a half chance that you will develop a substance use disorder (SUD) if your parents had one. You may be more likely to use alcohol or drugs like cocaine and heroin if you have a genetic predisposition. The influence of genetics on addiction is estimated at 40 to 60%.

What is the role of epigenetics in addiction risk factors?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in your brain that is genetically linked to addiction. Your brain releases dopamine as a reward. Basically, it triggers feelings of happiness. Someone with high dopamine levels is more likely to engage in addictive behaviors and have poor impulse control. 

If you are genetically predisposed to addiction or have a family member with an addiction, it does not mean that you will develop it as well. Having a higher predisposition increases your chances of getting it. Genetics is more indicative of a predisposition than a predestined outcome.

Are there any interventions that can help reduce the effects of genes on addiction risk factors?

So, is addiction hereditary? Yes. But are there ways to reduce the effects of genes on addiction risk factors? Here are the answers:

  • Family interventions: Family interventions can help reduce genes’ effects on addiction by providing support and guidance to family members struggling with addiction. These interventions can also help to educate families about addiction and its causes, which can help to prevent future generations from developing an addiction.
  • Individual counseling: Individual counseling can help reduce genes’ effects on addiction by providing individuals with tools and resources to manage their addiction. Additionally, counseling can assist individuals in understanding the root cause of their addiction, thereby preventing relapse.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy can help reduce genes’ effects on addiction by providing individuals with a support system for peers struggling with similar issues. As a result of group therapy, future generations can become aware of addiction and its causes, which can prevent them from becoming addicted themselves.
  • Medication: Medication can help reduce genes’ effects on addiction by alleviating withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Restoring brain chemistry to its pre-addiction state is also possible with medication, a preventative measure against relapse.

Addiction is a complex disease that can be difficult to understand

Addiction is a complex disease that affects people in different ways. While there is still much to learn about addiction and its causes, it’s becoming increasingly clear that addiction can be hereditary. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to contact Genesis House rehab for help. Many resources are available, and treatment can make a huge difference in the lives of those affected by addiction. Have you been affected by addiction in some way? Do you have any questions about hereditary addiction? We would love to hear from you. Contact us today for more information.