Heroin Addiction Is Genetic

Heroin Addiction Is Genetic

The Role of Genetics in Alcohol and Drug Addiction

All human beings have a tendency towards addiction since it has an evolutionary advantage. Take the example of an animal eating a specific food that it likes. It will naturally associate that specific food with pleasure and try to hunt for it later too. In reality, the brain is naturally hardwired for the possibility of addiction. After all, everyone has indulged in extra quantities of some favorite food even if they were aware that it isn’t healthy for them.

Science suggests that while all human beings are susceptible to getting addicted, there are some individuals who are at higher risk of addiction as compared to others. You may have heard about cases when some people have always consumed large quantities of alcohol. And then there are others who started out as social or moderate drinkers and later became alcoholics. Why does this happen?

A lot of research has been conducted on drug and alcohol addiction and scientists say that there is nothing such as a single ‘addiction gene’. Being at an increased risk of developing addiction is a result of numerous interacting genes. Even though genetic factors play an important role in determining addiction risk, other factors such as environmental and social factors shouldn’t be ignored either. These external influences also play a significant role in deciding the amount of risk faced by an individual in developing drug or alcohol addiction.

Addiction: A Generational Disease?

There are several diseases which may run in a family. Addiction is one such disease. You may often find two or more generations in a family affected by addiction. In other words, if some of your family members are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, there is an increased chance that you may potentially develop an addiction problem too.

Most people are unaware that generationally transmitted addiction is not an uncommon thing. A research study reveals that nearly 80 million people in the United States have a member of the family affected by alcoholism-this could be a spouse, alcoholic parents or some other member in the family.

Scientific and medical research also reveals that kids who have even one parent struggling with substance abuse are 4 times more susceptible to developing a similar problem. Such kids may feel intense shame, embarrassment or guilt about the situation and are usually hesitant to get help and support. And if there is no intervention to break the cycle, the addiction could span several generations within a family.

Genes and Their Role in Addiction

Scientists say that when they talk about “addiction genes”, they are actually referring to biological differences which can make individual more (or less) susceptible to addiction. The truth is that it could more difficult for individuals with specific genes to give up drugs or alcohol once they begin consuming these substances. Further, the withdrawal symptoms experienced by these people are much greater if and when they attempt to quit.

Addiction is a rather complicated problem and identifying addiction genes could be a complex process. Generally speaking, several environmental and genetic factors together make a person susceptible. Alternatively, these factors could also get canceled by each other. It is not that every addict carries a specific gene. Also, not every individual will addiction genes will showcase the trait. But there is definitely research to show that genes do have an impact on addiction.

While your family may have a history of addiction, it does not mean that you are guaranteed to develop the problem too. If you feel that there is a genetic inclination towards drug or alcohol addiction, it might be best to avoid such substances altogether.