Characterized by obsession, compulsion, and physical or psychological dependence, addiction is a chronic and relapsing disorder that has paralyzed millions of people worldwide. Addiction has devastated numerous lives and relationships, as well as caused a substantial burden to the economy. An enigma, associated with addiction, that continues to perplex people, is why some individuals are more predisposed to drugs, with a propensity to develop an addiction compared to others.
Most addictive behaviors are not due to increased tolerance or vulnerability to certain cues. Oftentimes, people develop an affinity for substances like drugs or alcohol to channel out their stress or alleviate their emotional distress. Besides these psychological reasons, one can also develop an addiction due to some of the changes in the brain and addictive properties of a drug.
For a considerable length of time, researchers wrestled with numerous hardships in investigating and exploring different dimensions to determine the biological risk factors of addiction and what makes individuals switch concentration from one substance to a completely different substance. The quest to trace that evidence seemed more like searching for a grain of rice in a bag of sand. However, researchers finally succeeded in finding the specific genes that are associated with triggering addiction in people.
At the end, researchers were able to explain the role of genetics in reinforcing an individual’s disposition to the specific kinds of addiction. However, this may vary depending upon other social and environmental factors like sex, age, education, socioeconomic status or cultural background. Since the problem of addiction emerges due to genetics and environmental factors, it is essential to determine the key genes to remove the problem from the root.
Genetics plays a deciding role throughout different phases of addiction
Over the years, several studies have identified a number of genes having linkage with the specific kinds of substances. One of the studies has found specific genome locations on 11 chromosomes where addictions to alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, nicotine and opioids are clustered together. By identifying the exact genetic variants and molecular mechanisms, one can effectively personalize treatment for different types of substances.
Some of the other genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have highlighted that people addicted to smoking with a European ancestry with the CYP2B6*6 genotype are more likely to witness a relapse than others. Moreover, genetic factors are functional at all levels of steps of substance use disorder (SUD) that include initial use, persistent use, development of tolerance and dependence, and addiction. These studies have proven that the role of genetics in developing an addiction is quite substantial in nature, with the heritability for most addictive disorders ranging from moderate to high. Substantial twin investigations have demonstrated that genetics can have a greater role in inducing abuse and dependence in the case of alcohol, which varies from 50 percent to 70 percent. A comparatively higher influence has also been observed across other alcohol-related behaviors, such as chronic or problem drinking. Another crucial finding suggests that women portray a higher endurance to hereditary influence compared to men.
Furthermore, genetics has not much implication in the case of illicit drug addiction. The genetic impact of illicit substances like stimulants, sedatives and heroin in males was found to be 0.33, 0.27 and 0.54, respectively. The comparable figures were also accessed for females. With a host of evidences indicating the influence of genes in contributing to one’s dependence on alcohol or other illicit drugs, most of the studies have highlighted the effectiveness of a treatment based on a person’s genetic makeup.
Road to recovery
Drug abuse and dependence is a serious issue affecting people’s lives, destroying their families, deteriorating the society, affecting the economy, etc. Besides being a highly disruptive and disabling disorder, it is responsible for pushing a person in the vicious cycle of other problems like mental health issues. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the repercussions of different substances before exploring them.
If you or your loved one has developed an addiction to substances, contact the California Detox Helpline to access the finest addiction treatment centers in California that specialize in delivering the best treatments based on holistic evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online with our medical representatives to know more about the detox and rehab centers in California.