Although there is an overarching idea that people become addicted to substances because of their lack of willpower, the reality is that addiction and genetics go hand-in-hand. One of the major contributing factors of alcohol addiction and substance use disorder is genetic predisposition. The genetics of alcohol addiction show that the disease of addiction can be inherited from parents. Children may be born with genes that predispose them to alcohol use disorder or drug addiction. However, a genetic predisposition doesn’t mean a person is fated to struggle with addiction. Rather, it simply means that those with a family history must take more extensive precautions and be more aware of using alcohol or other substances like prescription drugs. Compass Detox can guide individuals through what to expect and determine if they have a genetic predisposition to alcohol use disorder.
What Are the Causes of Addiction?
There are two primary causes of addiction. These are genetic causes and environmental causes of addiction. Genetic causes include a genetic mutation that creates an abnormality in one of the patient’s genes. They essentially inherit alcoholism from a parent.
Environmental factors also play a role in the development of an addiction. For example, if a patient’s mother and father both drank regularly, then they may have also started drinking at a young age.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Genetic factors contribute to roughly half of the instances of alcohol abuse. Studies performed in the early 2000s discovered that several specific genes could predispose someone to addiction. For instance, some genes encourage a greater release of dopamine when alcohol is present, which rewards the body and encourages addiction.
There is no way to predict who will or won’t deal with addiction, even looking at the genes they possess. This is because the genes themselves have to be expressed before they’ll impact the person. Strong genes are an exception and have been linked to a higher risk of alcoholism.
How Can Genes Influence the Risk of Addiction?
Certain genes change the way the body works. For example, some genes cause the body to grow an amygdala that is smaller than usual. Since the amygdala influences a patient’s emotions and cravings, a small amygdala could result in a higher risk of addiction.
Genes that influence serotonin levels or other neurotransmitters have also been linked to a greater or lower risk of addiction based on how much of these mood-regulating hormones are released. Abnormal levels have been linked to a greater risk of alcoholism.
Finally, some people have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism because their bodies don’t recognize the warning signs. The way pain or other symptoms are translated in the brain may be altered.
Environmental Factors Also Play a Role in Addiction
Environmental factors also play an important role in addiction. It has been shown that children who live with parents with alcohol use disorders are up to four times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder in the future. Having environmental influences, like peers who drink or easy access to alcohol in the home, may also influence a child or teen’s choice to drink.
After they begin drinking, it may be the genetic factors that make it hard to give it up. The environment a patient lives in influences the way their genes are expressed, so both environmental and genetic factors have to be considered to help people recover.
Contact Compass Detox for Support with an Addiction in Florida
Whether you or someone you love are dealing with an alcohol use disorder, you must know that there are people available to help. At Compass Detox, we know what causes alcoholism and are here to help our patients safely detox from alcohol in our 24/7 detox center. Our team is prepared to help and ready to get you started in our program now. Call us today at 855.526.4915, or contact us online to learn more about how our addiction treatment center can help you get back into control of your life and on the path to sobriety.