Trusted Content

Am I Predisposed To Addiction?

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 8, 2019

Many individuals are predisposed to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol because of their genetic makeup. However, this does not mean that everyone who is predisposed to addiction will become addicted. Addiction depends on a variety of factors that are well within a person’s ability to control. Knowing how to handle these influences can help you avoid a dangerous addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of a person’s predisposition to drug or alcohol addiction comes from genetics. But a person’s genes alone are not enough to lead them to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. Predisposition isn’t simple enough for anyone to say that, because an individual’s father was an alcoholic, he’ll become an alcoholic, too. Addiction itself is generally a combination of complexities. Our hope is to help those facing addiction in their family and worrying about predisposition to understand more, so they can get the help needed.

The Role of Family History

Many factors raise the risk of a person becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs. Along with factors such as gender, having psychological problems, the presence of peer pressure, anxiety and loneliness, or other drug use, a family history of substance abuse is a big risk factor, relays the Mayo Clinic. Family history plays a critical role in the genetic influence of addiction predisposition. An individual whose parent or sibling suffers from addiction faces a higher risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Knowing family history is helpful in protecting one’s self from an increased risk of addiction because genetic predisposition can be exacerbated by an individual’s surrounding environment.

Environmental Role On Addiction

The environment in which a person lives and exists also plays a role in their risk for drug or alcohol addiction. Even though genetic predisposition alone isn’t enough to lead to addiction, it can become a greater contributing factor if the person’s environment is also risky. An environment that exposes someone to peers or family members using drugs or alcohol heightens the risk of developing an addiction, as does a stressful environment.

Continued research regarding the interactions between a person’s genes and environment reveals that addiction is a chronic, complex disease that is influenced by many factors and exacerbated by the presence of genetic predisposition.

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Are There Really Genes That Predispose A Person For Addiction?

Genetics do play a role in whether someone might become addicted to drugs or alcohol, just as they play a role in many other factors. Genetic predisposition can lead someone to be musically inclined, shorter than average or more prone to developing cancer. Since a genetic predisposition ties to the brain’s pleasure center, we can all understand more clearly how predisposition works.

At one time or another, we’ve all overdone it on a favorite food, even while knowing it wasn’t a good idea. The combination of predisposition in conjunction with the pleasure or good feelings associated with initial substance abuse can lead a person to become substance abuse dependent and then addicted.

What to Do About Concerns

The fact that addiction affects a person’s behavior and brain function makes it a complex disease, yet like other chronic health conditions, addiction is treatable. A cookie-cutter approach to treatment is seldom effective, but those concerned about their own addiction or that of a loved one can find an effective treatment program that is customized to meet the health, needs, and personality of the individual. The first step for dealing with concerns about a family member’s addiction is to reach out for support for one’s self and help the individual. A compassionate, knowledgeable counselor can assist families in seeking help for overcoming addiction.

Get Help Today

Whether an individual is facing addiction or worried about the possibility of it, we’re here to provide guidance in the right direction. Our vast resources can help people find the ideal type of addiction recovery treatment for themselves or someone they care about. There is hope for a healthier, substance-free future. Take the first step toward sobriety and freedom from drugs or alcohol by contacting us today. Our caring experts are available to assist people around the clock in their efforts to break free from the stronghold of addiction. By contacting us today, the first step can be taken toward a happier, healthier life.

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