Addiction: Is It Genetic or Environmental?

Advanced research surrounding substance abuse has proven that addiction is a disease that heavily affects the brain. Seeking substances eventually becomes a compulsion that can take over a person’s life. While it is known that addiction is in fact a disease, many people question whether addiction stems from genetics or environmental factors. The simple answer is that addiction can occur for genetic and environmental reasons, and here is why:

Addiction Genes 

Genetics account for about half of the potential risk of developing an addiction. There is no single gene that causes a person to inherit addiction, as it is a very complex disease. Addiction genes just refer to certain traits that make people more or less susceptible to addiction. For example, you could have inherited genes from a close family member that struggles with addiction, and that might make you more vulnerable to developing one yourself. 

However, it is important to recognize that while you may have genes that make it easier or harder to develop an addiction, your genetic makeup will not ruin your chances of staying clear from substance abuse overall. In order to acquire an addiction, you must experiment with a substance in the first place.

Environmental Factors 

Your genetic makeup is only one part in developing an addiction. Your environmental factors also play a large role in determining a person’s susceptibility to addiction. Some of these factors include culture, religion, economic status, family atmosphere, and exposure to substances. 

Certain social situations such as a negative household environment can put a person more at risk for prolonged substance abuse. Stress is another factor that is well known for leading to substance abuse or addiction. This is because situations like losing a loved one or having trouble at work or school can trigger the development of an addiction, or cause a stress-induced relapse. 

Although, similar to genetics, environmental factors do not guarantee that someone will become addicted to a substance, and it is always possible to stay away from substances altogether. 

Substance Abuse Treatment 

If you or a loved one are currently struggling with substance abuse, now is the time for recovery. American Treatment Network specializes in substance abuse treatment that will result in lifelong sobriety. Patients will get immediate access to customized care and support from licensed professionals to ensure a positive recovery experience. 

American Treatment Network uses a unique fusion of primary care, medication assisted treatment, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, non-traditional cognitive behavioral therapies, and care coordination to get the results patients want. Don’t let addiction and substance abuse take over your life any longer. Contact American Treatment Network today to get back to a happy and meaningful life.  


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