No one is born with an addiction or predestined to a life of reliance and addiction. For many diseases, the more risk factors a person has, the higher the chances of developing the disease. For instance, heart disease is often hereditary. So why do some people become addicted and others don't? Studies that include identical twins, fraternal twins, adoptees, and siblings suggest that up to half of a person's risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs is based on their genetic makeup.
Uncovering the biological basis for this risk is a crucial area of research for scientists attempting to solve the issue of drug addiction. It has been confirmed by numerous studies that addiction is 50 percent due to genetic predisposition and 50 percent due to inadequate coping skills. One study examined 861 identical twin couples and 653 fraternal (non-identical) twin couples. When an identical twin was addicted to alcohol, the other twin had a high chance of being addicted as well.
However, when a non-identical twin was addicted to alcohol, the other twin did not necessarily have an addiction. Based on the differences between identical and non-identical twins, the study showed that 50-60 percent of addiction is due to genetic factors. Drug use can also cause the baby to be born dependent on drugs and have to suffer withdrawal at birth. Babies who were regularly exposed to opioids in utero may develop neonatal withdrawal syndrome (NAS), a set of problems that occurs because the baby is suffering opioid withdrawal after birth.
By studying twins and children who were born to addicted parents but were later adopted by non-addicted families, scientists have found that their genes are responsible for about half of their chances of becoming addicted. Some children are born with so many risk factors for addiction that it appears they are destined to become addicted.""