Is The Disease Of Addiction Hereditary?

If you or a loved one are in need of addiction treatment, contact us today!

We are all familiar with addiction, but it’s not always easy to discern where the disease comes from. Is it induced by stress? Can it be a genetic disorder, or does substance abuse come out of nowhere? Many individuals who are struggling with substance use disorder will continue to ponder on if their addiction is hereditary or not. We’d like to further explore the common contributing factors that can cause addiction to develop and when addiction treatment is needed. Let’s assess how the disease of addiction can be hereditary.

The Role Of Genetics In Drug Addiction

The structure of our genes and the information inside them dictate many things. This includes our eye color, behavioral patterns, and predispositions. What we mean by predisposition is the susceptibility to develop a medical condition, illness, or change in behavior. The genes that are passed from a parent to child can include a predisposition to drug addiction. Hereditary and genetic factors account for 50-75% of the causes for substance abuse and addiction. If someone has certain genes or hereditary influence, they are more likely to display addictive behaviors.

The following are examples of some genetic and hereditary influences on addiction:

  • People that have a smaller amygdala stand a greater chance of developing an addiction
  • Those without serotonin receptors
  • Individuals with parents and grandparents who have dealt with substance abuse issues are more likely to develop their own tendencies
  • The presence of multiple addiction-related genes 

Scientists have also paid close attention to and identified many addiction genes. More specifically, the genes associated with addiction to specific substances. Although research in this area is ongoing, some genes associated with addiction include the following:

While there is no shortage of hereditary reasons for developing an addiction, environmental factors can also play a huge role in the abuse cycle.

Environmental Factors That Affect Addiction

We can’t talk about addiction without mentioning the effects of turmoil that occur in our personal lives. Patients who have been afflicted from severe tragedy or addiction exposure at a young age are, unfortunately, at a high risk of forming habits later on in life. The environment we grow up in is pivotal in shaping our development. While some may try to push these memories deep down into their mental memory bank, trauma can always reemerge at random points in our lives. 

Environmental factors can include growing up in a home with drug users, suffering from a mental illness, losing a loved one, being let go from a job, or other miscellaneous, stress triggers. While we aren’t undermining the effects of environmental factors, hereditary factors are even more dominant in causing an onset of addiction. Addiction treatment with our team of professionals at Southeast Addiction will certainly broach this subject as part of our treatment programs (but more on that later).

Preventing Addiction If It Runs In The Family

Since we have clearly established that addiction and hereditary factors have a correlation, this beckons the question: “How can I prevent addiction if it runs in my family?” First things first, do not fall into the pattern of thinking in “what if’s”, while this can be easier said than done, a good rule of thumb for staying grounded in your sobriety and addiction treatment is shedding the act of giving into your negative thoughts. 

Secondly, you need to be aware of addictive tendencies. If you have acquired knowledge on the causes and signs of substance abuse, it will give you the tools needed to ascertain the addictive behaviors within yourself. Other ways to curb the development of addiction is by staying on top of your mental health, practicing self-care, and staying physically active. All things we’ve touched on in previous posts!

Mitigating Abuse And Addiction With Addiction Treatment

Addiction is scary enough on its own, when hereditary components are brought into the discussion, it can add another layer to the struggle. Thankfully, help is around the corner. Southeast Addiction is committed to treating and educating our patients, so that they can eventually travel down the path of sobriety. If you or a loved one are in need of addiction treatment, contact us today!


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