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Is Addiction Hereditary?

Published on 06. 22. 2016

The Study of Family Addiction

In a scholarly study, entitled The Genetics of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse by M.A. Enoch, 861 pairs of identical twins and 651 fraternal (non-identical) twins were studied and it was discovered that there is, indeed, a relationship between your family history (genetics) and a strong predisposition to alcohol addiction.

In a scholarly study, entitled The Genetics of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse by M.A. Enoch, 861 pairs of identical twins and 651 fraternal (non-identical) twins were studied and it was discovered that there is, indeed, a relationship between your family history (genetics) and a strong predisposition to alcohol addiction.
The study revealed that when one identical twin was addicted to alcohol, the other identical twin, with the identical genetics, had a much higher predisposition to develop alcoholism or other substance abuse addictions.

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However, when researchers compared the data against non-identical twins, with different DNAs, the likelihood of developing alcoholism dropped significantly.

The study also revealed that alcoholism was approximately 50-60% hereditary and 5 0-60% was based on personal circumstances – a need to mask pain, for example.
In another study conducted under rigorous testing methods, 231 people who were diagnosed as alcoholics or addicts were compared to 61 study participants who did not have an addiction of any kind. The results of the study were startling and unsettling. Children of addicts were eight times more likely to develop an addiction in their lives.

Addiction is a Disease

Many people believe that addiction is a character flaw – a weakness that can be overcome if the addict used a little self-discipline. Numerous studies reveal that addiction is a disease, and like many other diseases, addiction can be passed from one generation to another.
If one of your parents has a substance abuse problem, the chances that you’ll develop a similar problem are eight times higher that you’ll develop addictions as you mature – a clear warning sign to avoid addictive substances.

Other Studies Show Addictions are Not Genetically Inherited

There is a lack of consensus on the actual causes of addictions, in part because there are numerous causes – some hereditary, some caused by environmental factors.
A new analysis by addiction specialist, Dr. Stanton Peele, establishes no correlation between heredity and a predisposition to addiction. The results of Dr. Peele’s study, reported in the PR Newswire, finds no validity to the argument that addiction – or the pre-disposition to addictive behavior – is inherited. As many addiction specialists have stated, “There is no addiction gene.”
Mark Scheeren, Chairman of St. Jude Retreats – rehab facilities – states that “Addiction is simply a series of habitual behaviors which can be changed. Substance [ab]use boils down to a thought which is the conscious decision to drink and/or drug.

Two Points of View on Substance Abuse

There are two camps of addiction specialists with very different views on just what causes an addiction. The researchers who point to heredity disagree with the researchers who point to harmful “habitual” behaviors, and not genetics, as the source of addiction problems.
The scientists who point to environment take the position that if parents and other adults abuse substances around children, the kids learn that this is acceptable behavior and undertake the substance abuse they see in parents, siblings, even the neighborhood regulars – all can influence the acceptance of substance abuse without any hereditary connection.
As children, we learn to behave the way adults behave, and if those adults are heavy drinkers, or taking big bong hits in front of impressionable children, that behavior becomes “normal” and accepted.
However, the two positions are not necessarily contradictory. Studies show that heredity impacts behavior, and if behavior includes substance abuse, heredity may, indeed, play a role in the development of an addiction later in life.
On the other hand, we tend to engage people like us – similar values, similar interests, similar behaviors. People who enjoy a glass wine with dinner are more likely to dine out with friends who also appreciate the vintner’s art.
Tokers hang out with other stoners, complete with its own culture, language, and even its own time schedule. Ask any stoner what 4:20 means. It’s a different world from the world of the alcoholic or child with an eating disorder.


The Key to Managing Addiction is a Range of Therapies

No one therapy works for all people wrestling with an addiction because how they became addicts is a different story in the lives of each addict.

This alcoholic grew up with alcoholic parents who poured their young daughter “a taste of the grape” when the child was 10-years-old. That’s an addiction in the making, and frankly, irresponsible parenting.

This toker started smoking weed in high school because all his friends did. They did in college, too. Now, this stoner is a lawyer and about to draw up your legal papers. Ever wonder why your lawyer’s eyes are always red?

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The individual, the addictive substances and behaviors, the past and current circumstances all must be considered to develop a system of therapies that helps the addict through detox, and provides relapse prevention skills that include calls in the middle of the night.
At Hawaii Island Recovery, a small 8-bed recovery center located in the Kona district on the beautiful island of Hawaii, each resident is evaluated by a staff of highly-trained substance abuse therapists who draw on a long list of therapies to create a customized therapy that each resident can live with during both the early and latter stages of recovery.
Contact Hawaii Island Recovery today. Whether your addiction is hereditary or based on environmental circumstances, let our team of professionals give you back your life.
Hawaii Island Recovery is a place of joy. Call or email us today to start on a new path to the happiness we all deserve.

 

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