While addiction is a serious problem, there’s one major question that people have when they realize that drug abuse is much more common than drug addiction. For instance, it’s likely that as many as 40 million American adults have tried cocaine at one point or another in their life. Yet, the number of current users is likely around 2 million and only a portion of those have an addiction.
While many of those users will develop an addiction if they continue using cocaine, others will quit early and won’t suffer long-term harm. What’s the difference, exactly? A large part of it is life circumstances, but an equal factor may be genetics. Studies indicate that addiction has a genetic component that may amount to as much as 60% of a person’s vulnerability to addiction.
The Genetic Component of Addiction
A major element of the advances in our understanding of addiction treatment is moving beyond the idea that addiction is a moral failure. In recent decades, the evidence has shown that addiction corresponds most strongly to unaddressed trauma, poverty, and other societal problems. Even more recently, scientists have dug deeper and found a major genetic component to addiction.
Within any two human beings, 99.9% of all genes are the same. However, that last 0.1% represents three million different gene pairings that account for all biological differences between human beings. While there’s no single addiction gene or anything to that effect, studies have shown that many genes seem to correspond to heightened addiction risk. Studies of family members and identical twins have supported the idea that vulnerability to addiction is partly genetic for some time.
Modern technology has gone much further, and AI-driven analysis of mass amounts of gene data has put numbers to the biological component of addiction. Namely, some 40-60% of a person’s risk for addiction comes down to their genes. While we still don’t know exactly how these genes interact with addiction, there is a clear link.
Addiction is Hereditary, But Genes Aren’t Everything
While knowing that addiction has a genetic component should inspire sympathy and understanding for those with addiction, it may seem depressing to those currently struggling. Doesn’t a genetic inclination to addiction mean they can’t escape, after all? The answer is no, and anyone can achieve a healthy, drug-free life. Being more inclined to addiction means that if you take part in risky behaviors, you’re more likely to descend into addiction than someone else. If you avoid drug abuse, you won’t develop an addiction, and you can still recover and build healthy coping mechanisms with help.
At Hickory Treatment Centers, we’re dedicated to helping people overcome addiction and regain control of their lives. We offer numerous treatment modalities with the help of trained experts, compassionate staff, and the latest in evidence-based addiction treatment programs.
Get Help With Hickory Treatment Centers
Our mission is to help every person we can to overcome addiction, and to eventually see the end of the drug addiction epidemic. We’re sure that changing attitudes, improving treatment methods, and greater care availability will someday bring it to an end. In the meantime, we’re doing our part to save lives and help people overcome addiction. Reach out to us today to take your first step toward a drug-free life.