Many people talk about the genetic disposition that can lead to becoming an addict, but what does all this mean? It could mean that you are setting yourself up to become an addict simply based on what’s inside of you. Understanding the role of predisposition will help you to avoid dangerous consequences down the road.
What Role Does Genetics Play?
While the exact link between addiction and genetics is part of much debate, studies still signify that up to sixty percent of predisposition to addiction could be attributed to genetics. That’s a large number and it shows the odds aren’t in your favor.
There isn’t a particular gene that is identified as the one to cause addiction, but children of addicts have a much higher chance of suffering from addiction like their parents. It seems to be a disease that travels over many generations.
In addition to the genetics role of addiction, you also have to consider the reward system of the brain. Inside the brain are two distinct masses. There is one in each hemisphere; filled with nerve cells referred to as the nucleus accumbens.
When you do something enjoyable such as eat a tasty food or have sex, this part of your brain is flooded with dopamine. This neurotransmitter gives you the overall sense of pleasure. People that have low levels of dopamine are more susceptible to become addicts. That’s because both alcohol and drugs release large levels of dopamine in the brain which activates the pleasure response.
As an addict continues to abuse drugs or alcohol, the brain gets exhausted from this surge and it produces less by itself. This makes the body dependent on the drug to release dopamine so the user can once again feel pleasure.
In the same way, serotonin deficiency can play a role in addiction as well. Drugs such as cannabinoids, ethanol, psychostimulants and opioids are used by many to self-medicate. These drugs raise the levels of serotonin within the body and the person becomes dependent on them to feel relaxed.
Dangers of the Sleeping Demon Inside
Knowing the role that genetics plays in addiction, it’s important to note that you can become an addict without ever realizing you are in danger. Think about the times that drugs or alcohol are offered to you from those closest to you.
They surely don’t know you are at risk of becoming an addict; they just want you to have a good time with them.
After you get started though, you may no longer be able to stop. The dependency on dopamine or serotonin in your brain will become too strong and you’ll be rendered powerless over an addiction.
This demon will take over in your life and you’ll quickly find yourself doing things you never imagined you would do. Even if you want to get help at this point, it will be difficult to find your way out of the dark abyss you are in.
Stopping Addiction Before it Starts
Your best bet is to find ways to stop the addiction before it ever begins. Here are some tips that are sure to help you.
1. Find Ways to Deal with Stress
Most people start using drugs as a way to handle tension and stress in their lives. What they come to find is that alcohol and drugs are just a temporary fix. Once the drugs wear off, the feelings of anxiety, depression and tension are likely to come back even harder.
It’s important for you to find ways to cope with the hurdles of life. Many people turn to meditation or exercise as an outlet for stress. Anything you can do to improve your body, mind and spirit without using a substance is a positive step.
2. Seek Out Counseling and Therapy
Many people will face times in their life when they are depressed or anxious. Life is full of highs and lows and sometimes this is difficult to deal with. Many people who become addicts started by trying to self-medicate through their problems.
Instead of trying to treat your problems alone, it would be wise to find someone that can walk through this time with you. A qualified therapist or counselor can go a long way to helping you avoid self-medication. You might even consider finding a support group that will walk through the tough parts of life with you.
3. Be Happy in Your Life
When you suffer from low self-esteem or depression, you are at risk for substance abuse. Very quickly, one aspect of your life such as work or a relationship can seem overwhelming and trigger a response in you to escape.
By maintaining strong relationships and keeping a healthy balance of both physical and mental challenges in your life, you can have the stability you need to remain drug-free.
It’s important to fill your life with the things you care about. Whether it’s a hobby, a sport or an artistic skill, make sure that whatever you are passionate about has a key role in your life. If you spend time caring deeply about those around you and the activities you enjoy, you are less likely to begin using drugs and alcohol.
4. Keep Your Family’s History in Mind
It’s important for you to always keep your family’s substance abuse history in mind. Knowing that there is a likelihood of becoming an addict based on genetics, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the background of your family members. If you find that there is a higher chance of you becoming an addict, you’ll need to take some extra steps to protect yourself from alcohol and drugs.
Avoiding substances in the first place is a much easier task than attempting to get sober from an addiction. If you are concerned about your family’s predisposition, you might want to avoid drinking or using drugs altogether. This would be a great discussion to have with a qualified addictions counselor.
If you were abused by an addict in your past, it would also be important to seek treatment for this pain. Trying to cope with this on your own may lead you to walk down the path of addiction yourself.
The good news is that no matter where you come from or who your family members are, you can prevent the sleeping demon from ever showing its face in your life. Take steps to avoid slipping into the realm of addiction because it can be horrible to try and get out of. The secret lies in how you live your life today and surrounding yourself with the things that make you happy.
Don’t become yet another victim to the clutches of addiction.
Contact Clearbrook Today
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