Our genes are responsible for our hair color, health and behavioral characteristics. Passed on by our parents, these genes may also be responsible for addiction. Parents can pass on genetic traits that make their children predisposed to addiction.
Nature Versus Nurture: What Role Does Environment Play in an Addiction?
While genetics play a role in an addiction, they are only half of the equation. Environmental factors like relationships, work and stress can increase the chances of someone becoming an alcoholic.
When these environmental factors are combined with alcoholism genetics, the results can be terrible. Someone who has a predisposition for an addiction is more likely to become an addicted individual if he or she is in an environment where substance abuse is common. Difficult relationships, problems at work or other stressors can make an individual more likely to turn to alcohol for relief.
Alcoholism Genetics: Which Gene Is Responsible for an Addiction?
Currently, scientists believe that hundreds of genes place someone at risk for alcoholism. There isn’t a single gene that causes substance abuse. Instead, each gene becomes a small part of the risk factors for each person. Behavioral genes like genes for schizophrenia and depression make someone more likely to have substance abuse problems.
Do Your Alcoholism Genetics Place You at Risk?
It’s impossible to run a DNA test to look for alcoholism and addiction genes. While it’s currently impossible to test for alcoholism genetics, it’s possible to see if someone could be at risk. Individuals who have addicts in their family are more likely to become an addict. One family member with alcoholism increases the individual’s risk, and multiple addicted family members increase the risk even more.
While people may be at risk because of their alcoholism genetics, they don’t have to resign themselves to a lifetime of addiction. It’s impossible to control DNA, but individuals can control how they act and the choices they make. Once individuals know that they are at risk, they can take steps to prevent an addiction. Maintaining healthy relationships, recognizing the signs of an addiction and learning how to manage stress can help prevent an addiction from happening.
Preventing an Addiction
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, individuals can definitely take steps to prevent an addiction. Drinking moderately and avoiding underage drinking are both steps that individuals should take. People who drink at a young age are more likely to become addicts, so underage drinking and drug use should be avoided. Likewise, individuals should talk to a health care professional if they are concerned about a family history of addiction.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to prevent an addiction from happening. If you or a loved one has developed a drinking problem, there are options available that can help. In addition, if you need LGBTQ treatment or a pet-friendly rehab, you can get help locally and across the country. To find out about your recovery options, call The Hills Treatment Center today at 866-323-4665.