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Are addicts genetically predisposed?

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by lalabee21, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. lalabee21

    lalabee21 Active Contributor

    I was reading an article that said your brain may be wired for addiction, that genes do contribute to develop addictive behaviors. But I’ve also read many others that argue that genes have nothing to do with a person becoming an addict. Do you think addicts are genetically predisposed?
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    I've read similar studies myself. I think it might be a mixture of both. Some people certainly do seem to display a genetic predisposition to addiction but for others, it simply arises through circumstance.
  3. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    I too think it is a mixture of both. Some people have addictive genes. Other people have long family histories of substance abuse and if you see it going on in your family and it is the type of environment you grew up in, you are more likely to engage in those behaviors.
  4. lalabee21

    lalabee21 Active Contributor


    Yes, I think environment does influence a lot. But the thing is that I know a lot of people who come from dysfunctional families where both parents are alcoholics and they don’t drink. Then others who have a perfect family become addicts. It’s just weird, people react differently I guess.
  5. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    Addiction is something that we all have in our genes, whether it's in a smaller quantity or bigger. Every person in this world that will start to smoke weed will get addicted down the line, it's probably impossible to stop it. I don't think you can inherit something that 100% of the population already has.
  6. AFKATafcar

    AFKATafcar Community Champion

    Genetics can increase the chances of someone becoming an addict, but one's environment obviously plays a role, too. Someone without the "addict genes" can still become addicted because addiction is a lot more complicated than human beings being able to say that this person will become an addict because this, but this person won't become an addict because that.
  7. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    I also believe it is a mixture of both. I don't know how you are supposed to be tested on what you are genetically predisposed to when it comes to addictions. You can try looking at your family history and how they treated drugs but what if you are adopted? Things like that make things complicated. I think culture plays apart as well.
  8. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    I agree that it's a mixture of both. I definitely was both genetically and environmentally influenced to develop an addiction. I think it's very hard to tell for sure, since kids who may be genetically predisposed will likely have grown up seeing others in their family use.
  9. 111kg

    111kg Community Champion

    I don't think so. People becoming addicted to a certain thing is closely related to their social status, events of their childhood and, worst of all, their entourage.

    For example, alcoholics become alcoholics because of their parents are alcoholics too. Not all of them, because my father was an alcoholic too and I hate alcohol. I've never touched it and I never will.
  10. Zimbitt

    Zimbitt Senior Contributor

    Tons of times, If you know and addict or there is one and they have kids there are insane chances that they will be as well, or at least one of them out of the bunch.
  11. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    Some people are more prone to getting addicted than others, if that's down to a genetic issue is still open to aeguement but personally I feel that genetics can play a part in the addiction process.
  12. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    It could be both and I think it is mostly due to various reasons. Like if someone grew up in a household with addicts and being exposed to it. Some also do drugs as their act of rebellion to parents. So it could be combination.
  13. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I really think so, I know I have and addictive personality, hence I tend to get addicted to some many things so easily... ranging from videos games, to social networking, to sweets, to drugs, etc. I no longer do drugs, but I am still dealing with my sugar addiction. I need to find a good replacement, I tried working out, but for some reason I ended up putting on more weight :(
  14. lalabee21

    lalabee21 Active Contributor

    Yes, that’s what I was wondering, is there such thing as addictive personalities? I do think some people are like genetically predisposed or something because there are many that try drugs and they simply don’t become addicted. However, for some people trying is enough to have problems leaving that substance forever.
  15. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Oh yes, I can definitely see how someone would see a substance being misused all around them and become conditioned to think that it's completely normal behaviour.
  16. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    I have learned not to blame any decision or action of mine on any genetic origin or childhood experiences. Everything that I do is a consequence of my imaginative capacity and my willingness to bring into reality that imagination. Whether that imagination is good or bad, it's still a conscious choice that I make.
  17. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Yes, it's a fact there are addictive personalities, just like there are people with OCD. I happen to have both, no idea if my mental illness is related to this, but my guess is that it really is. I have heard there is a link between those two actually: mental illness and substance abuse. I know I have an addictive personality because I dealt with drugs and alcohol early in my life, now I've changed those addictions for something else: behavioral addictions :(
  18. deewanna

    deewanna Senior Contributor

    Most drug addicts are influenced genetically and environmentally. But I think it's more of the environmental factor than the genes. A child that finds himself in an environment full of drug addicts is likely to become an addict, whether genetically predisposed or not. While another child with addictive genes might not become an addict if brought up in a good environment.
  19. Kpet

    Kpet Member

    Yes, Studies show that people who are predisposed to addiction have low serotonin levels. Also probably why a lot of people with ADHD struggles with addiction. Also addiction could be if you have an ease of dopamin release genetically.
  20. LindaSuzanne

    LindaSuzanne Active Contributor

    If you had asked me this before my son became a heroin addict I would probably have said no but thinking back to when he was young I believe there were signs that he was wired differently to the rest of us.

    He developed odd behavoural habits in times of stress as in when my daughter was born and when he started school. I had to see a child psychologist who assured me he was just bright and sensitive and would grow out of it. He did grow out of the odd behaviour but something far worse took its place. He started to steal at a very young age, around 9. I put this down to boyish behaviour and believed it would stop as he got older. It never did. If I asked him if he felt bad about it he would shrug his shoulders and say "they have insurance".

    He was a very daring child and difficult to correct. If I grounded him he would jump out of the bedroom window, if I took away his pocket money he would steal. He was also an accomplished liar and by the time he was 16 he was taking drugs. When he reached 18 he was an addict and it was all downhill from thereon.

    I look back now and can see the signs were probably there and I just didn't see them. Someone who met him recently asked me what was wrong with him, did he have a personality disorder? That was a kind of relief because I wondered if he did have a condition that went undiagnosed back in the 80s. I don't know, maybe it's all just a coincidence but I know he isn't wired the same as the rest of our family.
    lalabee21 likes this.