Genetics and Addiction

Searching for substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC? Call Legacy today!Many different factors can determine if a person will develop an addiction and need substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC. There are factors such as biological, psychological, societal and economical influences that can increase someone’s risk of addiction.

Genetics have always been thought to play a part, but studies have been unable to pinpoint specific genes that may link a predisposition to addiction.

The Link Between Genetics and Addiction

A report from the National Council on Alcohol abuse and Drug Dependence, Inc. says that about half of the risk for alcohol abuse and addiction is related to genetics, but they are not the sole cause. They simply increase the likelihood. Other factors, like those mentioned above, also play a strong role in the chance of someone developing an addiction problem.

The problem research has found in trying to pinpoint how genetics determines addiction is because of the complexity of genes. It is also difficult because many other factors can contribute to someone’s likelihood of developing a problem with drugs or alcohol. Factors such as environment and one’s diet and health can contribute to the biological factors.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse and Research also reported that there was a biological vulnerability for drug abuse, but not by a particular gene. While genes can have an effect on behavior, it is not the determining factor as to whether someone will abuse drugs or drink excessively. However, they note that genes can affect behavior, which can determine the likelihood of someone becoming addicted. People who are more likely to engage in risky behavior may be more likely to try drugs or drink. However, it is not the sole determinant in developing an addiction.

They also note that genes alone are not able to control what happens to someone. Environmental factors also play a part. But if someone is genetically vulnerable to developing an addiction, along with environmental factors, he or she could have a stronger risk of addiction.

Of course, if a person is never exposed to drugs and does not take them, then he or she is not going to have that issue. This also shows that other factors do have to be considered. A person in a situation where he or she is exposed to drugs who also has a genetic predisposition for developing addiction is going to be more susceptible to taking drugs and becoming addicted than someone who is never exposed to them.

The study also reports that genetics could factor into the effects of a drug or alcohol on an individual. Some people may have genes that cause a stronger reaction, which can keep someone from trying them again. On the other hand, they could have an effect that makes the person want to try it again because it was enjoyable.

In alcohol abuse specifically, some genetic influences make people have less severe hangovers, meaning that they will be more likely to drink heavily again over someone who experiences a bad hangover. Someone with fewer bad experiences with drinking is more likely to drink more and drink often, and possibly develop a drinking problem.

Another factor to consider is how the brain works. If someone has a low genetic predisposition for addiction, then his or her chances of developing addiction are lower than someone with a higher predisposition. But, the brain learns by repeated behavior, so someone who does drugs over and over, regardless of their genetic tendencies, can still develop an addition.

Eye Color and Alcohol abuse

substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC? An eye opening study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that eye color can determine a person’s likelihood to become an alcoholic. Scientists from the University of Vermont looked at over 1200 people of European descent, including 992 who were medically diagnosed as alcoholics and 271 who were not. They found that eye color was a factor in the rates of alcohol dependence.

More specifically, they found that people with lighter colored eyes had a higher instance of alcohol dependence than those with brown eyes. Light eye colors included blue, green and gray. People with blue eyes had the highest rate of alcohol abuse – about 80 percent higher than people with other eye colors.

The increased risk of alcohol abuse based on eye color has its roots in genetics. They outlined the genetic components along the same chromosomes related to excessive alcohol consumption. A certain set of genes determines a person's eye color. But, the researchers still couldn’t pinpoint an exact correlation between the two factors.

Previous research found similar results, noting that people with light colored eyes drank more than people with brown eyes. They also found that people with light colored eyes are at a higher risk of mental disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This disorder causes people to have symptoms of depression during darker winter months. It could be related because people with light eyes may be more sensitive to natural light and variation in their levels. This can affect the hormone melatonin, which affects sleep.

The original study on alcohol abuse and eye color did take into account a few other factors, such as gender and age to see if they had a role in a predisposition for alcohol abuse, but it did not cover other influences such as physical and mental health, which can play a large part in how much someone drinks. People with depression or anxiety disorders may be more likely to drink, regardless of their eye color.

Because of the varying factors that can play a part in someone’s likelihood to develop an addition, more research will need to be done to find specific combinations of both genetic and environmental factors that could lead to learning how to treat people who may be more likely, genetically, to develop an addiction.

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Many factors can play a part in why someone develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Legacy Freedom Treatment Center is Wilmington’s top choice when it comes to addiction recovery. Our holistic approach to recovery is second to none. The lives we've changed are a direct result of our care and concern. We offer real recovery from substance abuse and addiction through a variety alternative treatment programs designed to meet your needs. Drug addiction, alcohol abuse and other forms of substance abuse are controlling diseases. There's no way to create a single plan that works for everyone. It's about real recovery from addiction not just a 12-step, one-size- fits-all rehab program. Call us when you're tired of searching for substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC.

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