Is Addiction a Hereditary Disease?

Numerous studies have concluded that there is a clear correlation between addiction and genetics. In fact, researchers have found that nearly half of all cases of drug and alcohol addiction can be attributed to a genetic predisposition. Addiction is a medically classifiable disease, and it is brought on like many other diseases — through a combination of genes, behavior, and susceptibility.

Those who engage in heavy drinking or drug use for an extended period of time are more likely to develop substance abuse disorders, and those with a family history of addiction are even more likely — in fact, chances are increased two-fold. Researchers are now beginning to understand the ways in which genetics affect the brain and the brain’s susceptibility to addiction. Much of it has to do with the reward center of the brain, also known as the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex, which helps us to determine how to interact with the world around us (our current environment).

Both of these brain regions are essential to survival, and both are dramatically affected by drug and alcohol use. The way that chemical substances interact with various regions of the brain has quite a lot to do with genetics; someone who is genetically predisposed to heroin addiction, for example, might find using heroin exceedingly more pleasurable than someone without any family history of substance dependency.

Addiction Hereditary Disease

The Disease Model of Addiction

Those that do not thoroughly understand addiction often assume that it is brought on by weakness of character – that the symptoms can be avoided with will-power and some additional structure. This is far from the case. Over time, the disease model of addiction has become widely accepted. Medical professionals now acknowledge that addiction is a disease, seeing as it is characterized by specific signs and symptoms, individuals can recover from it with integrated treatment, and it can be relapsing if treatment is ceased.

The disease model of addiction describes addiction as having several potential points of origin; neurological, biological, environmental, or genetic. Of course, because addiction is such a highly individualized disease, the origins and symptoms will vary on a person-to-person basis. In most circumstances, a combination of all potential points of origin will lead to full-blown addiction. In more than half of all cases, genetics play a major role.

Both the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine recognize addiction as a disease. Like other diseases, if addiction is not treated as soon as symptoms begin to occur, it will become more severe and more life-threatening over time. Our goal at Recreate Life Counseling is to intervene before the symptoms of addiction grow too severe and utilize a comprehensive, therapeutic program in order to help those struggling with substance abuse disorders begin on the road to recovery.

How Recreate Life Counseling Treats Addiction

We at Recreate Life Counseling understand that addiction is a disease and that those struggling with untreated substance abuse need professional intervention and long-term, personalized program of recovery in order to successfully heal. Upon arrival, each of our patients will undergo an in-depth evaluation, during which we will explore family history, possible environmental triggers, and other contributing factors.

We will then develop an individualized treatment plan based on our findings — a plan that will be continuously altered as the concerned patient progresses along his or her path to recovery. We offer inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization, and we cater to those suffering from dual diagnosis disorders. Additionally, we offer gender-specific treatment, which has proven to be significantly more effective than mixed-gender treatment.

Our comprehensive program utilizes many proven treatment modalities, ranging from group and individual therapy to psychological evaluations, trauma therapy, and holistic approaches to healing. Regardless of what degree of substance dependency you or your loved one struggles with, and regardless of the origins or severity of the disease, we are available to help. Please feel free to call us today with any questions you may have. We look forward to speaking with you soon.