What Genetics Have to do With Addictive Tendencies


The problem of addiction has long baffled doctors and medical researchers. This has led to the stigma all addicts face today that tags them as liars, cheaters, and thieves. Addicts often find themselves facing abandonment, pain, loneliness, and the inability to find a permanent solution to addiction. This is all starting to change as addiction is now being seen as an illness. Scientists have discovered that addiction is closely related to the malfunction of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain controls the pleasure system and when it is exposed to drugs or alcohol, the dopamine levels become abnormal resulting in cravings. Medical research has also been able to prove that genetics can play a role in the tendency of a person to become an addict. There are risk factors like mental illness that can increase the chances of a person becoming an addict but at the same time, mental illness has a genetic factor. Thus, this would explain why chronic illness runs in a family. Scientists explain that the brain’s prefrontal cortex genetic make-up is inherited but this does not mean addiction is a certainty or that a person who comes from a family where there is a history of addiction is doomed. In addition, while this area of the brain can never completely heal after being exposed to chemical substances, abstinence can go a long way in providing a safe and healthy life for a former addict. However, they stress the need for the addict to seek professional treatment that can provide a safe environment for medical detox and an effective foundation to prevent relapses.



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