Family sitting on couch discussing the link between genetics and addiction

Does Genetics Make You More Susceptible to Addiction?

Addiction can be a difficult thing to live through for the person with it and the people in their lives. And while people don’t intend to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it still happens.

But why does this happen? Besides the physical and mental side effects of doing drugs and alcohol, there is a link between genetics and addiction. Here’s how to know if you’re at risk for substance addiction.

Is Addiction Genetic?

For a long time, people have debated whether mental illnesses are a genetic or environmental consequence. And recent studies have suggested that in most cases, hereditary and learned behaviors lead to mental health problems or behavioral issues such as drug addiction.

There is no specific gene that determines if someone will become addicted to drugs or alcohol; there are several genes that play a factor in this. There is no reliable way to discover whether your genes put you at risk. So, doctors analyze family history to determine the likelihood of you becoming addicted to a substance or not.

Although genetics may play a large role in your likelihood of addiction, your environment will also play a significant factor. If you are around substance abuse, this may become a learned behavior.

Do You Have a Likelihood of Alcohol Abuse?

You may be unsure if you have a risk of alcohol use disorder or other substance use disorders. First, you should look at your family history, then consider your environment. Then it would help if you considered asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do members of your family misuse drugs or alcohol?
  • How far back in your family have there been family members who misused drugs or alcohol?
  • Has a doctor told anyone in your family that they have a substance use disorder?
  • Do you often spend time with people who are using alcohol or drugs?
  • Have you been with family members when they used?
  • Are drugs and alcohol easy for you to get? Are they available in your home?
  • Do you go places knowing that drugs and alcohol will be used there?
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