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Is Substance Abuse a Case of Nature vs Nurture?

Discussion in 'Heroin' started by pineywood, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I have been doing some reading on this subject. I think it is a combination of the two. I know that this is a widely held position by many when it comes to alcohol, but what about a controlled substances, like Heroin?

    Anyone have any opinions on whether addiction is based on Nature, Nurture, or both?
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    I think that both elements can be involved. It might be the case that someone does have a genetic predisposition towards addiction but it is equally likely that the drug taking behavior has been caused by external factors. Perhaps the user is trying to blot someting out or escape from reality for example.
    bogartdelarama likes this.
  3. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Kind of off topic, but your response made me think of something. Maybe some people are not trying to blot out the past or escape reality. Maybe some people are looking for something? Know what I mean? Like life feels empty and they are trying to fill the void.
  4. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I agree with both the statements above - that drugs can be used as both an escape mechanism and a void filler. Sometimes I think the two can kind of be interchangeable - for instance if someone felt neglected by their parents, they might be using drugs as an escape from the pain they felt then, but also as a void filler for where they didn't feel any parental love. I absolutely still think that both nature and nurture can be factors though. I don't ever think any situation can be completely described for one over the other.
    pineywood likes this.
  5. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I think, that drugs can be used to hide away from problems and very easy to do that and also it can make a person feel relaxed and also think it is alright to have as well. It can be easy to take, when a person feels depressed and also if they are in the wrong environment than it is more easy to get access to the drugs. I also reckon that some people choose it as it may be easy to have and can hide in a dream world as well.
    pineywood likes this.
  6. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I came across this subject in another thread today. There were several interesting responses, just like there is in this thread. I need time to digest all of this information. I find this subject quite intriguing and would like to continue it another day.

    So, I just wanted to say, thank you for your input, thus far! Much appreciated!
  7. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    I think it is a combination of both nature and nurture. A person couldn't be simply a drug addict right from the start, there could be some environmental factors that triggered him/her to be hooked to drugs/substances.
    pineywood likes this.
  8. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    It's both, although nature has less to do with addiction than environment. Environment is the biggest source of influence. When you think hard on it, there were no drugs in the Middle Ages so you cannot say for sure that the people there had a natural propensity to abuse substances when no one had taken them in the first place.
    pineywood likes this.
  9. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    It's most likely both but I personally think nurture can trump nature if it's done with enough dedication and education. I've heard of many stories of children growing up in slums, for example, but they turned out fine as adults because their parents knew enough to rise above the culture and circumstance they were in.
    pineywood likes this.
  10. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    While, I agree with your point that environmental factors have an influence. Just wanted to say there were drugs in the Middle Ages.

    True, nurture is important, especially with children raised in areas like the inner city, etc. I wish nurture always trumped nature, but I am not sure. Kind of wondering what you mean by culture?

    Right, but what about a person with a physical psychological issue?
  11. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    By that I meant societal or even familial traits that are of a questionable nature but brushed off and considered as acceptable just because it is labelled as tradition, such as excessive drinking or smoking at an early age, myths, superstitions and old wives tales treated as scientific facts, etc.

    In my opinion parents who are educated and secure in their ideals will more likely be capable of being rational and more equipped in not allowing their environment, history, or culture to dictate their principles both for themselves and for their children.
  12. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Aha. Thanks for clarifying what you meant by nurture. I do agree with you and all your points are valid. But what about the case where the parents have children exposed to the same environment (well no two individuals has the exact same experiences) and instilled the same set of values with all their children, yet one becomes an addict and the others do not. How much do you ( or anyone else) think nature plays a role?
  13. EditorsRHumansToo!

    EditorsRHumansToo! Community Champion

    I read secular materials and thought about interesting schools of thought. They say that: Addiction is acquired by nature (genes); another, by nurture (environment and experience), or both. I do not share any of their views.

    Even Shakespeare had an acquired taste for, uh, say, the hemp weed (substance). When hemp (marijuana) was used by nobles (wealthy) in the Renaissance Middle Ages, as you said in one of your replies in this thread.

    Weary with toil I haste me to my bed,
    The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
    But then begins a journey in my head,
    To work my mind when body’s work’s expired.
    To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
    Why write I still all one, ever the same,
    And keep invention in a noted weed,...

    Thanks for the challenge. Thinking and trying to make sense of things sometimes tax me. So, I slept over with this thought. And I lay me down to sleep ...

    I think, addiction is a response to certain stimuli such as: food, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity. A choice-- a decision-- a cognitive act of the mind. Something an individual has thought about, processed in the mind, reasoned emotionally and by volition (freewill) and chose to act on it or reject (conscience).

    Just my opinion...
  14. rainbowguard

    rainbowguard Senior Contributor

    I agree that even though both can be factors, I find that nurture is a much bigger role than nature in developing addictions. Any person with 'bad' genes will be able to resist addictions if nurtured in a supporting environment and any person with 'bad' genes will be able to fall into addictions if raised in an environment where consumption of addictive substances are common.
  15. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I don't see it as a matter of instilling values but more of a matter of having an understanding of the nature of those values. I believe a big part of the problem comes from people who sincerely think they are instilling values that they themselves do not understand nor even follow but continually enforce out of automation, which on the surface looks nice but ultimately rings hollow. A good example of this would be parents who preach to their kids not to give in to peer pressure but they themselves keep spending unnecessarily to live up to society's standards, so without even realizing it they are going against their own proclaimed values and subconsciously kids pick up on these hints which then causes slow deterioration of trust and communication.

    This is why in your example, I think it is unfair to assume that the flaw is automatically within the second kid who became an addict. In my opinion, it can be just as likely that the method being employed is the one that is flawed, and they just got lucky that the flawed system somehow didn't negatively affect the first one. As even you have mentioned, no two people are exactly the same even if they are brothers, so to expect the same results from using only one method not only seems irrational to me, but also very lazy.

    I believe someone who understands the fundamentals of what it is to be an effective guardian would know enough to adapt and make things work rather than just relying on how it has always been done or how society does it and hoping for the best, hence having more of a chance of being able to offset nature to some extent no matter how big of a role it plays.
  16. jeremy2

    jeremy2 Community Champion

    I frankly don't think addiction comes naturally but there are underlying issues that usually leads to this. Even for drugs like Heroin, i think its a case of one being tempted to taste it or due to pressure from peers.
  17. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I really agree with this. I do not think that addiction is a natural thing. Nobody comes out of the womb addicted to a substance, unless you call needing to get oxygen an addiction.
  18. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Good, very good.

    Certainly freewill plays a role.

    I will sleep on your reply, too, before responding further.

    I see you point, which is very much valid. Just want to say, not necessarily implying "bad genes" more like a disability of sorts within the compounds of the brain.

    Appreciate your lengthy response! My example was mostly a hypothesis of sorts, so point taken. Very true, I have never met a parent or guardian who has taken an identical approach with every child. To have the attribute of being either lazy or irrational are indeed damaging traits.

    True, having "More of a Chance" to offset Nature by adapting!

    Right, not necessarily a "natural thing", but what about being more prone?

    Thanks for the replies, everyone!
  19. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I would say that everyone is prone to becoming addicted to something. No one is safe from addiction, because anyone can make a bad decision and end up ruining their lives.
    EditorsRHumansToo! likes this.
  20. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Well, I think you summed this up nicely. It probably does not matter, if addiction stems from nature, nurture, or a combination. It is true, " No one is safe from addiction, because anyone can make a bad decision and end up ruining their lives."