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Is Addiction Genetic?

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

  1. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    My mom always told me to be careful how much alcohol I drank because dad was considered an alcoholic. Because we shared such similar genetic traits and interests (not mention I am a Jr.), she felt it would be hereditary. I feel that the tendency to be a drinker is genetic, but the actual addiction comes from your personal use, the frequency and how much you enjoy it.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  2. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    That is a really good question. In my own experience, and from observing others around me, I would definitely say that there is a genetic link. I was born to alcoholic parents, and developed a dependency on alcohol at a young age. I have made this a bit of a study in my life. I have come to the conclusion that there is definitely a stronger possibility of someone becoming an addict where the parents or other close relatives are/were substance abusers.
  3. ally79

    ally79 Member

    I absolutely believe that there is a genetic link to addiction. Half of my family are addicts, and maybe even more than that, and I was just blissfully unaware until I was gone and they were long passed. Alcohol seems to be the drug of choice for this family.
  4. CieraLashae

    CieraLashae Member

    Addiction to a substance could be genetic in a case of a mother being addicted to a drug during pregnancy. For instance, if a woman is abuses cocaine while she is carrying a baby, the baby will more than likely be born with a dependency on the drug.
  5. Teresa

    Teresa Senior Contributor

    I think there is a genetic factor, but I don't think that makes it a given that anyone who has parents and family members who have an addiction will also have an addiction or have a higher potential for addiction then someone who does not have parents and family members who have addictions, it doesn't make one destined to have an addiction or addictions.
  6. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    For me it was. And I think it's genetic. I mean, even though you don't drink or such, you still have that gene. But if you have willpower you can change this, to eradicate that gene and make the world a "cleaner"place to live. If your Mum was an alcoholic it doesn't mean you have to be like this as well. You are an independent, intelligent being and have to find your own way in life.
  7. s2chenrn

    s2chenrn Member

    I don't believe that addiction is related to genetics. I firmly concur that this has to do with society and peer pressure. Thus, this is relatively common to teenagers and people who are depressed.
  8. Clair

    Clair Member

    Addiction can definitely be genetic but in my situation it really makes me doubt it. My dad is an alcoholic, my uncles are all very heavy drinkers, most of them do drugs as well. My cousins, my brother, my sister abd myself don't drink or do drugs so is addiction actually genetic?
  9. Ruskoll

    Ruskoll Member

    The trait of addictiveness is genetic, if a long line of your family has had an addictive personality then there is a chance that you will to. I don't however think that an addiction to a certain thing is. Of course you can pick it up as a fetus but that is not genetic.
  10. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    Thanks for all the answers. My view is that personalities can be genetic, and in that, an addictive personality could be passed to you. What I mean is that the susceptibility to develop an addiction may be more likely, because you have a parent that is also more susceptible. This doesn't necessarily zero down on alcoholism, but it doesn't exclude it either.
  11. Vook

    Vook Member


    There is evidence that points to addiction being based on genes. I would wager most people are predisposed to addiction in this day and age, whether from a genetic source or an environmental one. Today's society almost glorifies addiction. Food addiction, entertainment addiction, instant gratification and more are running rampant though the US, with little to nothing being done to stop it. Sure, we raise awareness about drug and alcohol addiction, but there are many other addictions that are just as bad.
  12. mikeqin

    mikeqin Member

    If neurobiology is ultimately to contribute to the development of successful treatments for drug addiction, researchers must discover the molecular mechanisms by which drug-seeking behaviors are consolidated into compulsive use, the mechanisms that underlie the long persistence of relapse risk, and the mechanisms by which drug-associated cues come to control behavior. Evidence at the molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and computational levels of analysis is converging to suggest the view that addiction represents a pathological usurpation of the neural mechanisms of learning and memory that under normal circumstances serve to shape survival behaviors related to the pursuit of rewards and the cues that predict them. The author summarizes the converging evidence in this area and highlights key questions that remain
  13. RoseK

    RoseK Active Contributor

    I agree with your statement that it is difficult to separate genetics from environment when discussing any addiction. For example, I am addicted to alcohol and had my first drink at 13. I don't know too much about my family's history except that my father has a large liquor collection in his home. I also have some mental health challenges as well. I have faced many difficult situations and I believe that the way I reacted to them had partially to do with my mental illnesses, personal choices, genetics....just to name a few. I don't think it's possible to put one's finger on one type of tendency or illness.

  14. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Sorry to hear about your addiction, but yeah it is my perspective on the whole thing. Unless a scientist literally is able to follow hundreds of people around while also being aware of each one's family background and genetic makeup then it would really be difficult to determine where the causes came from, but I suppose a rough guess would be possible.
  15. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    I disagree. I had a normal upbringing with no drug use in my family, yet I turned out to have a heroin addiction. I have 4 children aged 21 and 20, 6 and 1. Neither of my eldest 2 have used drugs, having seen what ive been through so Im not convinced its generic.
  16. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    I feel the same, there are things that affect our kids to come in ways we can't even imagine, so better stay off them or else we are just propagating pain.
  17. soconfused

    soconfused Member

    I don't think addiction can be genetic. In my entire extended family I only know of two people that have drug abuse issues. One is my uncle from mom's side and the other is my younger brother. No one else.
  18. mikeqin

    mikeqin Member

    Addiction is due 50 percent to genetic predisposition and 50 percent to poor coping skills
    This has been confirmed by numerous studies.
  19. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    Nice numbers there mike, I haven't read any of those studies so I can't confirm is the numbers are accurate or not, but I agree with the global concept you present.
  20. globulon

    globulon Member

    There is definitely a genetic component. That is not to say that having a certain set of genes restricts you to a certain fate, but your genetic makeup predisposes you to behave/react in certain ways. Addiction may be genetically linked because certain individuals may be more biologically sensitive to the effects of recreational drug. It could also be through a myriad of other mechanisms.

    In my opinion, though, the more important factors are upbringing and interpersonal relationships. I believe its the people we surround ourselves with that have the greatest impact on our behaviors and actions.