Advances in genetics research have provided new insights into drug addiction and its underlying causes. Most researchers now agree that addiction has a genetic component, which means that some individuals are predisposed to it. Addiction is also partly the result of an inability to cope with stress and adverse situations. Understanding the many facets of addiction can better allow both recovering addicts and those who treat them to develop effective solutions.
The Role Family History Plays
Children who have parents who are addicted to drugs have a much greater chance of becoming addicts themselves when compared to children whose parents are not addicts. Specifically, research indicates that the children of addicts are 8 times more likely to become addicts, and this is a result of the presence of drugs in the home as well as the familial dysfunction that addiction causes.
Where Does It Come From?
It is important to understand that every human being has a predisposition towards addiction, because it provides an advantage which is evolutionary. When an organism consumes a substance it enjoys, there is a pleasure associated with it which prompts the organism to continue searching for the substance. Virtually everyone has eaten more than they should at one time or another and this is simply a milder form of what drug addict’s experience. Drug addicts simply have a more extreme form of the addiction which is hardwired into everyone.
Many Families Don’t Talk About It
Addiction is something that is not discussed in many families, because it is considered an embarrassment. While keeping such matters private is understandable to a degree, if children and grandchildren are kept in the dark about the addiction of other family members, they may be blind to the danger of becoming addicted themselves. Individuals who have parents, grandparents, or uncles and aunts that are addicted should be extremely cautious with regard to controlled substances, as they could be susceptible to abusing them.
Addiction Is A Disease
Many people make the mistake of thinking that addiction is not a disease, but it is. Like other diseases, it is partly genetic and partly the result of lifestyle decisions. The goal of an addict should be to overcome addiction, just as you can overcome diabetes or other health problems. Another indication that addiction is in fact a disease is the fact that many very successful people suffer from it, including high powered executives and celebrities. It is not restricted to race, class or socioeconomic status.
Those who have a family history of drug abuse are also susceptible to cross addiction. This means that if a family member is addicted to cocaine, another family member has a greater chance of becoming addicted to a different substance, such as alcohol or meth. One addiction within a family predisposes its members to all types of addictions, from eating disorders to pain killers. Even among people who do not have a family history of addiction, if they abuse drugs or alcohol heavily their brains can become rewired; this means that they can become addicts.