The Factors of Drug Addiction, Genes, and Your Environment
Many things play into drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder. Why will some people become addicted to substances, while others won't? There is no one answer. Your likelihood for addiction depends on both your genes and your overall environment.
What Factors Lead to Drug Addiction?
In order for you to develop an addiction, you first have to experiment with drugs. Once you have tried the drug several times, it becomes more likely that you will become addicted. Your genetics will play a major role in your chances of becoming addicted.
According to studies, half the chance of developing an addiction to drugs is due genetics. Your family's genetic makeup may make you more susceptible to drug addiction.
While genetics may play an important role in addictive behavior, this is not the only factor. It can also increase your risk of developing addiction from your surrounding environment, such as your family and friends.
It is important to consider these factors in conjunction to understand the risk of drug addiction. To explain the abuse of substances, experts use epigenetics. It is the study that examines how certain elements of the environment affect your genetic code.
Epigenetics describes why one identical twin might develop drug dependence, but the other doesn't. They were both born with identical genes. Genetically they are at equal risk for addiction to drugs. As they get older, their environment may change and the twins could be exposed to different people. Their individual addiction risk will be different as they develop.
Experts can use epigenetics to understand the impact of lifestyle and genetic choices on an individual's likelihood for developing addiction.
Drug Addiction and Epigenetics
A study was done on young adults and the development of disorders in them. The study found that early childhood drug abuse was closely linked to factors in the family, such as social and familial influences.
However, as someone grew older and became middle-aged or young adulthood, their use of drugs was more closely linked to genes than to social and family influences. With age, drug dependence is less likely to be a genetic problem.
However, it is difficult to know if someone's drug dependence was due to family or genetic influences. Experts looked into the cases of adopted children who were dependent on drugs by their biological parents to better understand genetic risk.
Adopted children are more likely to become addicted to drugs than their parents. Experts also found that an adopted child's risk of drug addiction was higher if their biological parent had alcoholism, criminal convictions, or a severe psychiatric illness.
The risk is magnified if adoptive parents expose the child to environmental disturbances such as:
- Death and divorce
- A parent who had alcoholism
- Drug abuse by sibling
Your environment will influence your behavior as you get older. You will be affected by the environment and people around you. The following factors may make you more likely to misuse drugs:
The right to access drugs. The development of addiction to drug is dependent on your ability to obtain drugs. You are more likely to become addicted if you can easily buy and consume drugs.
Peer pressure. Peer pressure can make you more inclined to use drugs. This is particularly true of young people.
Family involvement. A family with a poor relationship to its members or a dysfunctional home environment could increase your risk of developing addiction. Parents may have less control over their children's behavior in these situations. This can lead to them doing more dangerous things like using drugs.
Participation in the community. Communities with after-school activities are less likely to be affected by drug addiction. People who have easy access to exercise are less likely to get involved in drugs-related activities.
When you first start using drugs. Your brain can be affected if drugs are started early in life. Your chances of developing a drug addiction could increase.
Treatment barriers It is possible that you do not have the right care to treat drug addiction. You could also be at greater risk for addiction.
These neighborhoods are often considered to be the most vulnerable. There may be limited access to food and safety in these areas. These areas may have lower health quality and risk. These disparities are linked to higher levels of substance abuse, according to research.
Your stress levels. You can become addicted to drugs if you are exposed to stress. Your body produces steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids when you are experiencing stressful circumstances like death or major life changes. These hormones can cause changes throughout the body. This is the reward system in your brain.
If stress hormones are inextricably linked to your reward system, it's more likely that you will develop an addictive behavior.
What can Epigenetics do to continue to influence Addiction?
Experts believe that someday, they may be able to use a dopamine receptor, called D2, to tell if someone will become addicted to heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. A brain scan has revealed that individuals with fewer D2 receptors may be more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs.
How many D2 receptors are you able to have is partly determined by your genes. This can be affected by your environment.
Scientists continue to discover how the genes and your environment influence your chances of developing addiction. They can reduce stigma around addiction and help people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol faster by establishing individual treatment and prevention plans.