Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

Sometimes a person who has developed a substance use disorder has some idea of what may have triggered it. Still, the question of “Is drug addiction genetic?” is a legitimate conversation to have. Genetics definitely can contribute to a person having a predisposition to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. Regardless of what caused the addiction, Buckhead Behavioral Health can help. A big part of learning to stop using drugs has to do with knowing how to develop healthy coping skills to replace old negative ones. We help people learn to become sober by attending one of our outpatient programs.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a medical disease that requires professional treatment in order to overcome it. Drug addiction affects a person’s brain, particularly in terms of blocking its ability to naturally produce feel-good chemicals like dopamine. The drugs the person abuses begin to take over by causing feelings of joy and pleasure. When this happens, the person relies on the drug use to feel them because their brain’s ability to naturally produce them has become compromised. As a result, the person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop using drugs. This usually causes them to return to drug abuse in order to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

Drug addiction also affects a person’s behavior. They often need drugs just to get through the day and sometimes use illegal methods to procure them. As well, drug abuse causes people to act in negative ways that impact their personal relationships and ability to perform their jobs or school work. 

Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

The answer to “Is drug addiction genetic?” isn’t a simple yes or no. For many, genetics absolutely can contribute to developing an addiction. In fact, a study using several types of siblings suggested up to half of a person’s risk of developing a drug addiction has to do with their genetics. Studies about genetics and addiction are ongoing, but some genes have been identified that are associated with addiction. 

Genes are units of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that are passed down through families. Genes are found in chromosomes, and each person receives an equal amount from both their mother and father. Just as some family members end up having a specific hair or eye color because of a hereditary factor, the same can apply to having an increased chance of experiencing addiction to substances. However, not everyone who has a family member with substance use disorder will develop one. 

What Other Factors Contribute to Drug Addiction?

There are other factors besides genetics that contribute to why a person becomes addicted to drugs. These include social, biological, and cognitive contributing reasons which can occur on their own or as a combination.

Traumatic Early Life Events: This includes children who are exposed to physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and other traumatic events. This can cause the brain to develop in negative ways, which can make the person become more likely to become an addict than those who do not experience early trauma. As well, children who grow up around people who abuse substances, especially their parents and other caregivers, often lack an understanding of how to avoid repeating those patterns. 

Mental Health Disorders: People who deal with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more often end up abusing substances. They often use drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the symptoms of their mental illness and end up becoming addicted. 

Environmental Situations: Certain environmental factors can contribute to a person being more likely to experience drug addiction. These factors include living in poverty, unemployment, and living in areas with a lot of crime or community unrest. As well, living in a situation that provides easy access to drugs, particularly starting early in the person’s life, can increase their chances of developing a substance use disorder. 

Which Drugs Are Addictive?

A large variety of drugs can become addictive, including both legal and illegal substances. Whether people use prescription drugs, legalized drugs (such as marijuana in some states), or street drugs, addiction is a risk for many. Drugs that can prove addictive include:

How Is Drug Addiction Treated?

Drug addiction treatment starts with going to detox. The detoxification process takes approximately five to seven days and should be done under the supervision of medical experts. When receiving care, the question of “Is drug addiction genetic?” can be discussed in order to help the individual understand the genesis of their disease. After detox, how to avoid relapsing will be at the heart of several types of therapy offered in residential and outpatient care programs. Treatment center staff members include doctors, therapists, nurses, and others who help people learn healthy coping skills that replace their urge to abuse drugs.

Get Help for Drug Addiction in Atlanta Now

Is drug addiction genetic or does it come from another source? The answer varies per person and is not always clear. Still, regardless of what factors contribute to someone developing a drug addiction, a professional treatment program can help them become sober. Buckhead Behavioral Health treats addiction to several kinds of drugs. Our services include detox and multiple levels of outpatient care at our drug rehab in Atlanta

Our admissions staff is ready to answer any questions you have about how our drug rehab works. Visit our admissions page now and let us help you cross over into sobriety. 

Call Us Now