A lot of research has gone into finding out if addiction is something we’re prone to because of our genes or whether our upbringing, social circles or individual personalities play a bigger part.
Numerous studies have found that 50-60% of addiction is in fact due to genetic factors and 40-50% comes down to poor coping skills. It has also been found that if a parent has a drug or alcohol addiction, their child is eight times more likely to go on to develop an addiction themselves.
Why exactly do our genes determine how likely we are to develop an addiction however? Believe it or not, there is an evolutionary advantage to developing an addiction which means that we all have the genetic predisposition for it. When an animal eats a certain food it likes for example, there is an advantage to associating pleasure with that food so that animal will look for it in the future. This means that the potential for addiction is hardwired into our brains no matter who we are.
Although every single one of us has the potential for addiction, some people are more predisposed to it than others. Some can completely abstain from alcohol, others can have the odd drink here and there, some addicts started out as moderate drinkers and then became an alcoholic later on whereas others drink alcoholically from the very beginning.
One of the reasons for this is because when we use drugs or alcohol to help us because we have poor coping skills, we’re permanently rewiring our brains. Every time you abuse a substance, you’re strengthening the wiring associated with alcohol or drugs and you’ll end up chasing that buzz even more. They more you chase the effect of a substance, the greater your chance of eventually developing an addiction.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with an addiction of any form, please feel free to contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence and we will be more than happy to help.