collaborative post | There is a general belief that supports the theory that some people are more genetically predisposed to developing an addiction than others. Are you really hardwired to be more vulnerable to developing an addiction or is it down to the environment you are exposed to?
When you are focusing on getting the right meth treatment, for instance, it may not seem relevant to question whether you were influenced by genetics or other factors. However, it is relevant to understand the triggers so that you can be more aware of the potential addiction risk each one poses.
The short answer to that question is that the lines between genetics and environment are blurred so it is rarely possible to give a definitive black-and-white answer.
Here is a look at both scenarios to try and get a clearer distinction.
The role of genetics when it comes to addiction
It should be stressed that studies are still ongoing with regard to what role genetics plays in triggering an addiction.
The general consensus from studies so far would suggest that a reasonable estimate would be that genetics can be responsible for about 50% of the overall risk when it comes to developing an addiction.
These studies have even identified a specific gene that has been linked to alcohol addiction. DRD2 is a gene that has been shown to be influential in how the brain processes dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with reward and pleasure. If you consider that some people seem to enjoy the feeling of being drunk it could be argued that these people may be influenced by DRD2.
Although it is clear that genetics may create a predisposition towards addiction it is just as evident that environmental factors can be just as influential for some people.
It is not unrealistic to suggest that someone who is exposed to a significant trauma or raised in poverty, for instance, could seek solace and start using drugs or alcohol from an early age.
These are typical factors that could easily increase the risk of experimenting with substances, leading to an addiction problem if they are exposed during their formative years.
Social pressures created by factors such as economic status. Cultural or religious influences, or exposure to substances through family association, are all considered likely to play a role in raising the risk of developing an addiction.
Is one more relevant or important than the other?
The key question is whether the influence of genetics or environmental factors is more important than the other.
The bottom line is that there is usually a complex interaction between both influences. Someone could develop an addiction as a result of both genetics and environment.
Even if someone is shown to have the right genetic makeup to develop an addiction that doesn’t automatically mean they will follow that path.
Every person is different and will experience their own triggers. Early preventative measures and professional treatment options can prove vital in combating addiction, regardless of whether it developed from genetics or environmental factors.