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Is Substance Abuse a Case of Nature vs Nurture?

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

  1. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    I think nature and nurture are intangible. Both contribute to the development of an addiction. Two people can come from the same situation among the same circumstances, but only one may come out as an addict meanwhile the other sober. Resilience varies. Also, people of all backgrounds and experiences have experienced addictions. It hasn't been limited to one, specific environment.
  2. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I understand the importance of trying to figure out where the urge to try addicting substances lies, but in reality, everyone goes through the temptation if they are around it long enough.
  3. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Good point. I like your description, "intangible".

    Right. Everyone may go through the temptation, but I know people who have been exposed to drugs and alcohol and remain firm in their belief to abstain. It is too easy to generalize. I know, because I do it. So, while it is true, no-one is safe, not everyone makes a bad decision. Thus, my interest in this subject.

    By the way, just because I question your responses (and others), does not mean that I do not appreciate your (and others) input. I just enjoy learning why people think they way they do on a topic. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.
  4. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I did not take your response as a diss or something haha. We are ok. And I understand why people abstain and keep strong because I am the same way, but really, there is still a temptation regardless of whether or not we want to fully acknowledge it.
  5. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Oh, lol, good, we are okay! I just love to have a good discussion!

    But seriously, there are some people who are not tempted (again, in my opinion, lol) I know them, personally (since babies). They have been always been and continue to be adamant about drinking and drugs. I think, it has to do with making career choices at a young age and letting nothing get in their way! I guess this boils down to more or less nurture.
  6. vikkiwinters

    vikkiwinters Member

    I think either one can lead you to addiction all on its own; anyone can wreck their brains enough that drugs become the only way to feel happy, but some people come with their brains pre-wrecked due to genetics.

    There's a popular theory you've probably heard of called 'Self medication theory' - basically the reason people abuse drugs is because they feel terrible in some way, to some extent, and drugs temporarily make them feel better; so the natural response is to take loads of drugs.

    Nature: born feeling terrible, discover drugs, feel less terrible, become addict.
    Nurture: born feeling alright, take drugs for the hell of it, enjoy drugs, take them more and more for fun until the brain starts becoming insensitive to the happy chemicals, feel terrible, take more drugs to feel less terrible, become addict.
    Some people lose the lottery of life and get whacked with both, woo.
  7. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    That's an interesting question. I don't know if you could classify self-medicating with alcohol or drugs as "nurturing". I'd call it "numbing" of the pain, which actually could be a form of nurturing. But all this could be hairsplitting. In the end addiction is a state of being where you are trying to deal with certain imbalances within yourself. But instead of "treating" this imbalance in a natural way and addressing the root of the problem, you reach for something that temporarily makes the symptoms go away.
  8. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    I think maybe it's a mixture of both? I don't know how to put it but there's a balance there and yes, addictions aren't safe and everyone can be vulnerable to it, which is why we need to be cautious when it comes to these things because simply making an argument or trying to justify something might actually make it worse for the addicted.
  9. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I know there are some people who are not tempted, but I still think that the thought of doing drugs crosses their mind. Maybe I know different people, but there is always a curiosity that stirs in everyone. People like to bite off of the forbidden fruit. That is just human nature.
  10. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Both. Whilst nurture and environment can indeed have an effect on how likely a person is to turn to substance misuse and their likelihood of developing addiction, certain factors or situations faced in life may also cause a person to turn to substance misuse. In terms of nurture for example, a teenager may think it's okay to smoke marijuana because one of their parents smokes marijuana. In terms of a life situation, a person may turn to substance misuse (whether alcohol or something) for a sense of escape from abuse they may be suffering.
  11. keekz38

    keekz38 Member

    I definitely think both factors can play a role in substance abuse. On one hand, you may grow up in an environment where drug use is prominent, and it may cause you to adopt the same habits. On the other hand, you could try it one time after not being around it your whole like, and get hooked because you have an addictive personality.
  12. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Right. I have given this some thought over the last few days, and asked those people who have never used. Maybe not tempted, but certainly been offered. Hmm human nature, the forbidden fruit, I am not sure we all have the same temptation in life that tempts us. I must say, I have quite enjoyed our conversation on this matter.

    Good points.
    I would just like to clarify, I do not think because people have brains wired differently, for lack of a better description, to be pre-wrecked. I think just because a person sees the world in another way, from the "average person", per se that they are less of person or wrecked or even crazy and some people say. Nor do I mean, "Nature: born feeling terrible, discover drugs, feel less terrible, become addict." I will get a little more specific. I mean being born autistic. I do not mean a low brain IQ. I mean one that becomes focused on a subject and gets to a level of comprehension on a topic that can go way over my head. Now you take the subject of an illegal substance and it becomes even more complicated, when you mix in the subject of dealing with social cues and norms.
  13. Smarty

    Smarty Active Contributor

    I am not sure but it seems unlikely to me to be just one of those things. No one is born an addict! Yes, a strong genetic predisposition could play an important role but I don't think it's enough. There is almost always some other reason, often deeply hidden... Something the person can't deal with and he finds "salvation" in substance abuse. This is his way of overcoming difficulties or at least covering the wounds.
  14. JadeVengeance

    JadeVengeance Active Contributor

    Nature is the people you have grown up with so if you parents are on drugs.. There is a slight possibility that you may take drugs. There also is that chance that the nurture you have been given may make you not want to touch the drugs at all.
  15. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I've enjoyed this, too. It is crazy that the forbidden fruit comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There is not just one concrete temptation for everyone.
    pineywood likes this.
  16. PerkyNorm4u

    PerkyNorm4u Member

    Both element is a contributing factor, if mothers exposed their unborn child to substance the likelihood exist for them to become an addict. Also, the environment that you are in will also influence substance intake, example if your are living in a household are living in a community with addicts the possibility exists that you will be apart.
  17. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    As pointed out by @ PerkyNorm4u
    some babies are born an addict, which is an extremely sad, unfortunate, and unfair situation. This brings the discussion between Nature vs Nurture into a completely different playing field. I think, I will post a new thread on this topic. I would like to hear what others have to say on this subject.
  18. Smarty

    Smarty Active Contributor

    OK, that is new to me. Thank you for the information. It's really unfortunate that a baby can be addicted from the very start of his/her life. I did some research on the topic and it is a really tough situation. What I couldn't understand, though, is are the babies addicted (mentally) or they just have a physical craving. I have no doubt the physical leads to the psychological very fast but is that mental addiction ingrained in them or it is only a consequence of the physical need?
  19. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I wonder the same thing you question about psychologically vs physically. I do not have the answer, but I did start another thread on this subject with a link posted on a study in this area.

    the thread

    the link - Effects of prenatal cocaine/polydrug exposure on substance use by age 15
  20. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    There are various reasons why a person will use a drug. It can be both, the nature and nurture. Some are just curious and tried it and got addicted to it. Some had a very bad experienced and got depressed and so, thinking that using drugs could help them ease the pain.