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Is Addiction Genetic?

Discussion in 'Questions About Treatment' started by Rainman, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    https://ncadd.org/for-parents-overview/family-history-and-genetics
    I don't know if that statement is factually correct or not because I've seen other studies somewhere which try to debunk the 'myth.' If substance addiction is genetic wouldn't the person who tried to break the habit just get back to it because it's in the DNA?

    Is it hard for some people to overcome substance addiction because they're born that way? Drugs attract them like a magnet attracts iron?
  2. cc1001

    cc1001 Member

    I think addiction is genetic. The reason I believe this is because I have several family members suffering from alcohol addiction. My grandfather was an alcoholic. I have cousins who are alcoholic. My brother and sister are alcoholic. I almost became alcoholic but decided early on that it not what I wanted for my life.
  3. allswl

    allswl Member

    I is difficult to say conclusively that addiction is genetic. Whenever scientists are looking for "addiction genes," the truth is they are actually searching for biological differences that is likely to cause someone to be more or less at risk for addiction. People with certain genes may find it difficult to quit once they begin. A person's genetic makeup is not going to doom them to becoming an addict. The environment plays a massive part in addiction risk.
  4. jenbeau90

    jenbeau90 Member

    There is definitely a genetic underlying factor, but you also can't disregard environment. My father was an alcoholic, and I struggled with my own addiction for a while. My sister, however, never had a problem with alcohol. If alcoholism was genetic and only genetic then we would both have struggles with it; proving that environment at least as something to do with it.
  5. Askani

    Askani Active Contributor

    I have read a few studies that say it is genetic in nature. How far that influences a person and their habits is a whole other story. I think it is half and half, Genetic and environment. What you grow up around and the quality of your life growing up can have many different effects. It is really person to person and not a simple thing that applies to each and every person. Everyone is different.
  6. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Active Contributor

    There has been some evidence that shows that addiction is genetic. However, it depends on the person and it seems like you can generally get tested to see if you have the addiction genes.
  7. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

  8. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I'm no scientist, but in my own humble opinion, I think it's still way too hard to separate both environment and genetics when considering these studies, because both feed each other equally and the separation between both isn't always clear cut. I'm more likely to side with it being mostly due to upbringing though, and even if it were for the most part genetic, I'd still say that proper upbringing can curb it without much problems.
  9. maryannballeras

    maryannballeras Senior Contributor

    In my opinion, genetics play an important role here. If your genetics are really weaved towards addiction, then you'll possibly be addicted anytime soon. However, we need to remember that traits are not just genetically acquired, they can also come from the environment -- which can either magnify or eliminate the addiction.
  10. princenyc

    princenyc Member

    Genetics plays a part but only a small one, I think (I am no doctor!). You can be genetically gifted for a particular sport but if you never learn the game then it doesn't matter. I think it may be the same with drugs. You may be genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to it, but if you never or rarely take it then it doesn't matter.
  11. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    Here's the easiest way for me to understand how genetic pre-disposition works.
    1. Some of us are born soaked in gasoline.
    2. None of us know it for sure.
    3. Some of us light a match, some of us don't. :)

    ...genetically pre-disposed or not, if you play with fire there's a good chance you're going to get burned. Some of us are just more flammable than others LOL
    geegee likes this.
  12. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    Yes, addiction can genetically make one predisposed to it according to numerous studies. Addiction seems to gravitate to the brain. It is like you look for something that you find really likable. However, it can also be the opposite for some families. In the case of my uncle who drank a lot during his heydays, his son, my cousin, hated alcohol. It's because he never really had a close ties with his dad. So he did the exact opposite of what he loved. Another cousin whose dad also drank until he dropped, drank one bottle too many when he was younger. But now, he drinks in moderation. His is a case of diversion. He is into some physical sport so he doesn't drink as much as his dad did only on special occasions. Now, these two uncles of mine are brothers. And I have other male relatives from the same side of the family who love drinking. So I guess it has also something to do with pattern in the family. Since you grow up seeing the oldies doing it and having fun, tendency is you emulate it.
  13. jackslivi

    jackslivi Active Contributor

    I believe in some cases, that it is genetic. Sometimes though in a rare situation will be opposite of the addiction. If the parent is addicted to alcohol, then some times a child will not be and will completely ban alcohol from their life. It just kind of depends. I think people who have a close relative should take extra caution to alcohol. You may think you can handle it but those genes may not.
  14. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I think that it's more along the lines of a genetic predisposition, but not a guarantee by any means that you will be addicted. Genetics is a funny thing, but environment plays a factor into things, as well as personality and the human thought process. I come from an entire family of binge drinkers and alcoholics. I personally never really drink. Drinking was not frowned upon when I was a child, we were always asked if we wanted to "finish it" when getting Mom or Dad another beer. It was just something that I made a choice not to be involved in. Now, I realize that's not the same for everyone, so I think it's a combination of factors, not just one thing.
    TXgirlNCworld likes this.
  15. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    I don't think that it is genetic and carried over from generation to generation. Naturally if a parent was an alcoholic or drug addict whilst pregnant then you have no choice when you come into the world.
    For those of us who have had alcohol family members, it is the memory or the smell that could trigger you into doing the same or mimicing their habits but not necessarily through genetics.
    It could also be that a parent gave their child too much medication when they were little (panado syrup) to stop them from crying and their little bodies become immune to the medication, which in turn becomes something stronger as they get older.
  16. HerrKaze

    HerrKaze Member

    This is very much a lifestyle choice, in my opinion. Whilst some people may or may not be more susceptible to it, genetics won't make you an addict.
    proldani likes this.
  17. btatro

    btatro Member

    I truly believe that addiction tendencies are genetic, but that in the end, each person is capable of making a decison. If you feel prone to addiction, based on family history, I would think that person should take extra care to avoid the substances/situations that may play into that 'weaknesss'
  18. LadyMiles

    LadyMiles Active Contributor

    I believe genetics can definitely play a part in addiction. I also believe that environment can play a part in addiction. You mentioned if addiction was genetic then wouldn't someone who is genetically connected to addiction just end up falling into the addiction. I believe in that case environment is a big factor. Throughout my studies I have always stressed and believed that regardless of our genetics, we can always alter results depending upon choices we make. For example, one that has diabetes running strong within his or her bloodline can make choices to deter it from themselves by eating healthy. With alcoholism, if it runs in the family and one does not want to fall within the addiction, it would be beneficial to refrain from environments that include regular alcohol consumption. Does this make sense?
  19. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Partly it is and partly it's not. The capacity to get easily obsessed over or addicted to something may have been imprinted in one's genes. However, the external environment and the agents of socialization the person is exposed to all have a stake in molding his resilience to prohibited substances. People with OC behavioral problems are like to get addicted.
  20. sillylucy

    sillylucy Community Champion

    I really think that it can be genetic. We get so many other personality traits from our parents. It is genetic, but I think we can have the power to resist. We may be predisposed to be a certain way, but I think if you push hard against it then you can fight it.