Everyone knows what addiction is, but it can be hard to tell where this disease comes from. Is it triggered by stress? Is it a deeply-rooted genetic disorder? Or can substance abuse come out of the blue? Keep reading to learn whether or not addiction can be passed along in the family tree.
The Basics of Addiction
Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that takes serious strength and willpower to fight. This disorder plays on the reward system of the brain; therefore, illicit substances like drugs or alcohol will hyper-activate the mind’s multiple reward centers.
Can Genetics Influence Addiction?
Hereditary and genetic factors make up about 50-75% of the causes of substance abuse and addiction. If someone has certain genes or hereditary influences, they may be more likely to display addictive behaviors.
Here are some some hereditary and genetic influences on addiction:
- People with a smaller amygdala are more likely to develop addictions.
- Certain genes play a key part in substance abuse. Those without a serotonin receptor gene, for example, are at greater risk for addiction to alcohol or cocaine.
- Individuals with parents and grandparents who have had addiction issues are more likely to develop addictive tendencies.
- Drug dependency is more likely for individuals who have multiple addiction-related genes.
While there are many hereditary reasons for addiction to develop, there are several environmental factors that could contribute to abuse as well.
Environmental Factors That Impact Addiction
Those who are impacted by tragedy or exposed to addiction at an early age are more likely to form substance abuse issues later in life. Other environmental factors that could lead to addiction include growing up in a home with drug users, having a mental illness, losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, and stress-related triggers.
Ultimately, both environmental and hereditary factors have an impact on substance abuse disorders. However, hereditary influences have a bigger chance of causing addiction.
How to Prevent Addiction If It Runs In The Family
Since hereditary factors do play a role in addiction, those with addiction in the family are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem. However, there are ways to avoid or prevent addiction even if you are predisposed to it.
First, you need to be aware of addictive tendencies. If you have knowledge about the causes and signs of substance abuse, you’ll be more equipped to notice addictive behaviors in yourself. Identify all of your possible triggers and do your best to stay away from them.
Other ways to prevent addiction are to stay on top of your mental health, practice self care, and stay physically active.
Treating Abuse & Addiction
However, addiction cannot always be prevented. But if addiction forms for hereditary reasons or otherwise, there are ways to stop it. The journey to sobriety usually starts with detoxing, which should be administered by a professional at a medical center or rehabilitation facility.
After detox, those suffering from addiction can participate in inpatient/outpatient treatment, one-on-one or family therapy, and support groups to continue their recovery.
To learn more addiction and its genetic or hereditary influences, contact our team of substance abuse professionals by visiting us here or calling 866-488-8684.