Yes, there may be a genetic predisposition to substance abuse. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) states that “at least half of a person's susceptibility to drug or alcohol addiction may be related to genetic factors. Many people, especially those with a family history of addiction, are curious to know what factors play a role in addiction. Is addiction genetic? It's true that some people may have a genetic predisposition to addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), a medical condition that is defined by uncontrollable substance use despite negative consequences.
However, having a genetic predisposition does not mean that those people are guaranteed to develop an addiction. Genetics is just one part of the many factors that can affect your overall risk. Even if you or a family member is struggling with addiction, hereditary factors are not a life sentence, and you can get help to regain control of your life and start the path to recovery. At least half of a person's susceptibility to drug addiction may be related to genetic factors.
Presenters at an April 8 congressional hearing described new research on the genetic basis of addiction and recommended ways to incorporate those findings into treatment. The hearing was organized by the APA Office of Scientific and Governmental Relations. Scientists will never find a single genetic change that causes addiction. Like most diseases, substance use disorder is a complex trait.
It is influenced by variations in several genes, as well as environmental factors. Hereditary and genetic factors account for approximately 50-75% of the causes of substance abuse and addiction. If a person has certain genes or hereditary influences, they are more likely to exhibit addictive behaviors. This emerging science promises to harness the power of genomic information to improve addiction treatments by adapting treatment to a person's specific genetic makeup.
But the actions of MECP2 have not been studied in normal emotional learning processes in humans that activate similar circuits, such as falling in love, so it is not clear if this is unique to addiction. Because cocaine causes sharp increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the feeling of pleasure, or the high that drug users crave, PSD-95 is likely to be involved in other types of addiction. It is necessary to have access to the drug, use it repeatedly, and be exposed to certain environmental influences to develop an addiction. Most diseases, including addiction, are complex and variations in many different genes contribute to a person's overall level of risk or protection.
But addiction depends not only on personalities as an individual, but also on the choices you make as an adult. The disease known as drug addiction shares many characteristics with other chronic diseases, one of which is heritability, which means a tendency to be hereditary. Researchers were able to identify a specific PSD-95 protein that had a relationship both to drug addiction and to learning and memory. In the example of a stressful situation, such as the death of a partner or the loss of a job, if a person is physically active, this can reduce their stress-induced epigenetic changes, which will lower the risk of developing stress-induced addiction or relapse.
Genes also account for 60 percent of the tendency to become addicted and 54 percent of the ability to quit smoking. Scientists are now studying how genes can play a role in making a person vulnerable to drug addiction or in protecting a person from drug addiction. Scientists have searched for decades for an “addictive personality” that leaves someone vulnerable to drug problems, but to no avail. How these proteins work or don't work can indicate how vulnerable a person is to drug addiction (Figure.