In Articles, Drug Rehab, Opioid Addiction
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Addiction is a horrible disease that can be caused by many contributing factors.

From childhood traumas to environmental factors, scientists have studied it all. So, what about the possibility that genetics and addiction are linked? Our genetics determine everything from the color of our hair to whether or not we can roll our tongue. Is addiction a result of genetics as well? Our Pennsylvania detox center is diving right in to clear up the matter.

Is Addiction Genetic?

Could your genes really determine how likely you are to snort a line of cocaine or have a few too many drinks? The answer is yes. While genetics is just one of many factors that can contribute to a substance abuse problem, it does appear to play a role in how likely someone is to become a drug addict or an alcoholic.

The Genetic Causes of Drug Addiction

The genetics and heredity of addiction can be complicated, but there is definitely a relationship. In fact, it is estimated that about half of the risk that someone develops an addiction problem can be attributed to their genes.1 Just like eye color, addiction problems may run in the family.

After multiple studies, research shows that the risk of someone having an addiction is proportional to the degree of their genetic relationship with a relative who is an addict.2 Because your immediate family members typically have a closer genetic makeup than your more distant relatives, this means that you are probably more like to also have an addiction problem if your parent is an addict versus as opposed to an aunt who is an addict.

Evidence also shows that no matter what drug may be abused, genetics and addiction have still been connected. Twin studies show that there is heritability in the abuse of hallucinogens, sedatives, stimulants, cannabis, nicotine, opiates, alcohol, and cocaine; there is even a connection with caffeine consumption and pathological gambling.2

Substance abuse genetics can also be affected by age. The Virginia Twins Study found that a genetic factor has little role in psychoactive substance abuse in adolescence but becomes much more important as people age and had a larger influence.3 So although addiction may run in someone’s family but they are not an addict themselves, this could change over time.

While genetics certainly play a role in addiction, remember it is not the only cause. There are plenty of other environmental factors that can affect whether or not someone develops a substance abuse disorder. Just because you have a parent who is an addict, doesn’t mean that you will definitely have a problem as well, but you should be vigilant and aware of this connection. For example, if your relative needed an alcohol treatment program, then it may be wise to watch your own alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.

Do you suspect that you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol? Do not wait to act. Our addiction help in Pennsylvania will not only work with you to overcome your addiction but also educate you about the disease along the way. To get started on your journey to recovery, call us now at 570-536-9621.



  1. NCBI – Genetics: The Blueprint of Health and Disease 
  2. NCBI – Genes and Addiction
  3. NCBI – Genetic and environmental influences on alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, and nicotine use from early adolescence to middle adulthood.
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