Scientists have debated the relative importance of nature and nurture for hundreds of years. Currently, the broad agreement is the majority of human trains are caused by both genetic and environmental influences. This is certainly true for the predisposition to alcoholism and developing any sort of dependency of substance use.
Is There an Alcoholic Gene?
As alcoholism so often seems to run in families, people can easily assume that the causes behind it are entirely genetic. Research has shown that genetic predisposition accounts for about half of the risk factors for developing an addiction to alcohol. Therefore, there are many external factors that further determine a person’s likelihood for developing an addiction.
The Role of the Environment
Many people who have a genetic predisposition to addiction never end up developing the disease. On the other hand, some low-risk people do struggle with substance abuse. This makes it obvious that there are plenty of factors beyond inborn tendency that influences addiction. Researchers have found that social norms influence alcohol consumption and can therefore either increase or decease the prominence of addiction within a certain social group. Socioeconomic disadvantage, poverty, racial discrimination, and traumatic experiences all increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder.
Can We Prevent Alcoholism?
As there’s nothing we can do to mitigate the predisposition we’re born with or to change the environment in which we grew up, it’s a good idea to pay more attention to the external factors we have some influence over. If you’re looking to decrease your risk of developing a substance sue disorder, try to learn more about your family’s history of addictions and see if you notice any similar patterns in your own life. Seek out a therapist or a counsellor to help you manage your emotion and develop healthy coping skills. Do your best to build strong relationships with your friends and family — not only will you develop a robust social network but you’ll also have people to lean on when you’re struggling. Finally, learn about the symptoms of addiction and be mindful of your behavior. If you suspect that you may be developing and addiction, seek out help as soon as possible.
Begin Your Recovery with Hickory Treatment Centers
Here at Hickory Treatment Centers, we put our patient’s needs at the heart of what we do. We always make it a priority to understand the unique needs of everyone who walks through our doors so that we can provide them with the best treatment possible. We put a particular emphasis on addressing the underlying causes of addiction, rather than simply treating the symptoms, as we believe that’s the best way to ensure long-lasting results. Please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to talk you thorough your treatment options.