Understanding The Genetic Aspects Of Addiction: 6 Things To Know
Addiction is a complex disease that has many contributing factors. One of the most important of these is genetics. Here are six things you should know about the genetic aspects of addiction.
Genetics Play A Role In Addiction Risk
Genetics play a role in addiction risk. Studies have shown that genes account for about 50 percent of the risk of addiction. This means that if you have a family history of substance abuse, you are more likely to develop this type of addiction yourself. There are many different genes involved in addiction. This means that there is no one “addiction gene” that determines whether or not you will become addicted. Instead, addiction is caused by a combination of many different genes. These genes are:
DRD2. This is the gene that produces dopamine receptors, and those who do not produce enough dopamine receptors are more at risk of addiction.
ANKK1: Those who carry a specific mutation in this gene tend to abuse substances such as alcohol and cocaine early on in life. This same mutation also increases the chances of becoming dependent on nicotine.
DAT1: Those who carry a specific mutation in this gene are at a greater risk of developing an addiction to stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Those with this mutation also have symptoms that include the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD often self-medicate with stimulants.
CHRNA7: Those who carry a specific mutation in this gene are at a greater risk of developing an addiction to smoking. Those with the mutation also have symptoms that include increased impulsivity and attention deficits.
HTR2A: Those who carry a specific mutation in this gene are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to alcohol.
Genes Play An Important Role In Treatment Success
Genes also play an important role in treatment success. Studies have shown that the success of treatment is influenced by the genes an individual carries. For example, people with the DRD2 gene are more likely to respond to treatment with dopamine agonists and people with the ANKK1 gene are more likely to respond to treatment with naltrexone. Here are some other examples:
People with the CYP2D6 gene are more likely to respond to treatment with methadone.
People with the COMT gene are more likely to respond to treatment with methylphenidate.
People with the ALDH2 gene are more likely to respond to treatment with acamprosate.
People with the ADH4 gene are more likely to respond to treatment with disulfiram.
Getting Tested Can Help You Understand Your Addiction Risk
Getting tested can help you understand your addiction risk. Genetic tests are now available for those who need extra motivation to seek help for their addiction, or who want more information about their addiction risk. These tests are done by obtaining a sample of your DNA. This can be done by swabbing the inside of your cheek, or by using a blood sample. Genetic tests can help you understand which genes make you more at risk for addiction, and they can also help you determine which treatments will be most successful for you.
To illustrate this, consider the example of the COMT gene. This gene is involved in the metabolism of dopamine. People who carry a specific mutation in this gene have a decreased ability to break down dopamine. This means that they will have higher levels of dopamine in their brain. People with this mutation are more likely to respond to treatment with methylphenidate, which is a stimulant that works by increasing dopamine. By getting tested for this gene, you can learn whether or not you carry this mutation and which treatments will be most effective for you.
Understanding The Genetic Aspects Of Addiction Can Help You Understand Yourself Better
Understanding the genetic aspects of addiction can help you understand yourself better. If you know that you are more at risk for addiction due to your genes, this can help you avoid triggers and become motivated to follow through with treatment. This is especially true if addiction runs in your family. You can motivate yourself by remembering that addiction has strong genetic links and avoiding risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, experimenting with drugs, or over-indulging in food.
Genetic Testing Is Not 100% Accurate
While genetic testing is a valuable tool, it is important to remember that it is not 100% accurate. This is because genes are only one factor that influences addiction risk. There are many other factors that can contribute to addiction, such as environment and lifestyle. Therefore, if you get tested for addiction genes, it is important to keep in mind that this test will not be 100% accurate.
Genetic Testing Is Becoming More Common
Genetic testing is becoming more common. This is because technology is advancing and scientists are learning more about the role of genes in addiction. As a result, more and more people are choosing to get tested for addiction genes. If you are interested in getting tested, be sure to talk to your doctor about the options that are available to you.
Addiction is a complex disease that has both genetic and environmental components. While genes are not the only factor that contributes to addiction, they do play a role in increasing an individual’s risk for addiction. Understanding the genetic aspects of addiction can help you better understand yourself and your risk for addiction.