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Addiction: Nature vs Nurture

The disease of addiction is complex and many factors influence whether or not someone will become addicted. That is not to say that genetic and environmental factors will cause someone to inevitably become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but they may be predisposed to a higher likelihood of facing addiction in their lives.

Addiction has been well known to run in families. This can be attributed both to a genetic predisposition for addiction, as well as a higher likelihood of being exposed to environmental elements that may cause one to be in greater contact with alcohol and drugs. For example, a person may have a parent who passes along the genetic components of addiction, while also having drugs or alcohol around the house and exposing them to a child at an early age.

The greatest influencing factor, it seems, it a complex interplay between both environmental and biological factors. Neuroanthropology explains, “Modern scientific inquiries tell us that the inheritance of these addictive tendencies cannot be attributed to a single gene, as is the case for some diseases. Its transmittance is much more complicated.” No single factor, whether it be a specific gene or environment, determines whether one will become addicted to drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs will lead to abuse and addiction. Protective factors, on the other hand, reduce a person’s risk of developing addiction. Risk and protective factors may be either environmental (such as conditions at home, at school, and in the neighborhood) or biological (for instance, a person’s genes, their stage of development, and even their gender or ethnicity).”

Environmental risk factors include aggressive behavior in childhood, lack of parental supervision, poor social skills, drug experimentation, availability of drugs in school, and community poverty. However, genetic factors are also important and can be influences by the environment. The NIDA explains, “Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction; this includes the effects of environmental factors on the function and expression of a person’s genes. A person’s stage of development and other medical conditions they may have are also factors. Adolescents and people with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug abuse and addiction than the general population.”

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431