Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”IS DRUG ADDICTION GENETIC?” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Children of parents with drug addiction problems are known to be at increased levels of vulnerability to developing drug addictions themselves. However, is this due to shared environmental influences or can a predisposition to drug addiction be passed down through genetics?

The answer to this question is a controversial one. Prevention is key to stopping vulnerable individuals developing addictions. Understanding who might be at risk and why is important for prevention programs. In addition to this, if addiction can be passed down through genes then understanding which genes are responsible for addiction can lead to more specific and effective treatments.

Evidence suggests that certain personality traits such as impulsivity, risk taking and stress responsivity, can be passed down genetically. Such personality traits have been seen to be also linked with addiction. So it is possible that certain personality characteristics may increase a person’s likeliness of taking a drug for the first time, or using it in response to a stressor.

What about genetic links to particular addictions? Given that different addictions can be linked to abnormalities in neurotransmitter production and activity, it is possible that genes that code for the production of these certain neurotransmitters can be passed down from parent to child.


Having said this, any possible genetic links to addiction do not definitely mean that a person with these genes will definitely develop an addiction. It is more plausible that genes may predispose one to a certain personality traits which make drug taking more likely or certain neural abnormalities that may make addiction once exposed to drug taking more likely. But these are just predispositions, a combination of genetics with environmental influences are likely to lead to drug addiction rather than just one factor alone.

In addition to this, it is almost certain that scientists will never discover just one single gene that is responsible for addiction. Like most other diseases, addiction vulnerability is a very complex trait and probably involves numerous genes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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