Is Addiction Genetic?

Addiction can be a complicated topic to understand. While most people think addiction is a matter of self control, it’s actually not. There is science behind addiction and a clear explanation to addiction and genetic disposition. So, if you find yourself asking “is being an addict genetic?”, the short answer is yes, it can be. At Rise in Malibu, we work hard to help all over our clients find lasting recovery from addiction. 

What Are Genetics?

Genetics is the study of genes. Genes are units of DNA that make up the human genome.

Diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia are some of the diseases that genetic predisposition play a major role in disease manifestation. This concept is also applied to substance addiction disorder. Genes are accounted for a fifty percent chance of an individual having substance abuse disorder. The other fifty percent chance is due to poor coping skills when stressful or uncomfortable situations are present. Researchers have discovered a certain gene activity in the brains of patients with mental illness. This breakthrough can lead to novel testing and treatment for diseases that are genetically influenced. Substance abuse disorder is among those diseases. 


Family History Contribution

Like we mentioned above, being an addict is genetic. Family history is a significant part of the patient interview during initial doctor visits. As mentioned above, genetic make-up plays a big role in diagnostic and preventative medicine. Substance abuse disorder, similar to heart disease and diabetes, is influenced by one’s genotype. Studies have shown that if one identical twin has some type of substance abuse disorder, the other twin is very likely to develop addiction as well. The chance is slightly different for non-identical twins. A child whose parent is an addict is eight times more likely to develop substance addiction. 


A common misconception: only certain individuals are born with the genetic make-up that contribute to substance abuse disorder. The fact is that all of us are born with it. Evolutionary advantage is the explanation. When an animal finds pleasure in eating a certain food, it will look for that food to eat again. This evolutionary theory depicts animal’s ability to associate pleasure with specific things which is a survival advantage. At this point, you might ask “so why are all of us not becoming addicts?” Some people develop substance abuse disorder in the beginning. Some might start out at a low, moderate level. So, what makes one individual more prone to this disorder than another person? The answer is when repeated substance abuse occurs, the tracts in the brain are rerouted over time. Every time the substance is abused, the wiring for addiction is strengthened in the brain. 


Effects of Environmental Factors

In addition to addiction and genetic disposition, there are also environmental factors. Environmental factors are as important as genetic predisposition. The dynamic interaction between genetic make-up and environmental factors has a direct impact on a person’s health.


Environmental factors are modifiable factors. They are influenced by lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and stress coping mechanisms. At Rise in Malibu, we work diligently to optimize your treatment outcomes by regulating these modifiable factors. Along with medication assisted therapy, our treatment modalities are deemed gold-standard due to our holistic approach. Some of our holistic approaches are yoga, saunas, meditation, massages and more. We also offer small, intimate group therapy sessions in addition to individual therapy. Regarding diet, ours is second to none. Gourmet and custom meal options are available to cater to your taste and dietary restrictions. Exercise is also an important environmental factor. During your stay with us, we commit to improving your physical health along with mental health, and there is no better way to do that than having you engaged in outdoor activities. Some of those activities are kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming and more. Check out our website for all of the activities that are available! Being active is a great way to release stress. Our goal is to shape you into a healthy, productive stress coping person. 


You Decide Your Destiny!

Substance abuse disorder is made up of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. With that being said, we all have fifty percent control of the situation. Everyone’s lives are unique in its own way. Everyone has their own challenges. Some might have it tougher than others. In addition to poor coping mechanisms and lack of a support system, addiction happens. That does not mean you cannot take back control of your life. The fact that you are reading this article indicates that you recognize your need for help. Your destiny is in your hands and we believe in you. We believe in your recovery and we are thrilled for the next chapter of your life! Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment program. 

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