There are several reasons that a person may develop an addiction. These are often related to mental health disorders, trauma, environmental circumstances, and social circumstances. However, genetics can also play a significant role in one’s risk of developing an addiction. By understanding the role that genetics play in addiction, you can begin taking proper precautions or educate your loved ones on the causes behind addiction to continue living happy, healthy, and sober lives.

Do Genes Cause Addiction?

It can be easy to simply point the blame towards genetics for the development of addictions. However, even the studies showing that genetic makeup can place a person at risk of developing an addiction state that genetics alone cannot cause the disorder to develop. The environment that you live and grow in also plays an essential role in the development of addiction. An example given by the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “a community that provides healthy after-school activities has been shown to reduce vulnerability to drug addiction.” This is because it gives children and other individuals a healthy alternative to using drugs and alcohol. If you are instead surrounded by individuals using these substances or have the free time to use them on your own, you will be more likely to use them because of your environment combined with genes.

What Significance Does Genetics Have?

While genetics alone do not indicate if someone will develop an addiction, research has shown that factors relating to genetics make up 40-60% of a person’s risk of developing an addiction. This means that you do pose a higher risk of developing an addiction because of genetics, and you have an increased risk, especially if a direct relative is currently struggling. This is why it is crucial to learn about your family’s medical history to make informed decisions about your life. Being aware of addiction in your genetic makeup can keep you from developing an addiction because you are aware of the predisposition you possess. Talk to your doctor or an addiction treatment specialist to keep yourself on the safe side if you believe you may have a genetic predisposition for addiction.

The hunt for the root cause of addiction has been active for decades, as scientists want to find a cure for the disease. While research has not yielded definitive results, there is a better understanding of the role genetics play in addiction development. Genetics coupled with the environment can be a recipe for the disorder to take hold. If you believe you are already struggling or want to learn more, contact Alta Loma Transformational Services. Our programs for treating mental health and addiction can place you on the right path towards recovery. Call us today at (866) 457-3843.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.