Is Addiction Genetic?

Because it is common for multiple people within a family to be dependent on drugs or alcohol, it seems as if addiction runs in families. Does this mean addiction is genetic? The answer is yes and no. Multiple factors determine whether you will become addicted to a substance, and genetics is only one of those factors.


Research conducted at the University of Utah notes that certain genetic differences can affect the way you respond to a substance, and this can increase or decrease your chances of becoming addicted. For example, people who have a specific gene are more likely to experience sickness and dizziness from smoking, which makes them more likely to be nonsmokers.

Genetic and Environmental Influence

Alcohol abuse and drug abuse are influenced by genetics and the environment. You are more likely to become addicted to alcohol if your parent is an alcoholic; however, the likelihood changes depending on other genetic traits, your personality, and the ways you learned to cope with stress, among other factors. Twin studies show that genetic influence also depends on the substance. For example, the genetic influence is stronger with heroin than with other substances.

If you need help with substance abuse or an addiction, rehabilitation services are available in both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. These services can help you understand and address all of the underlying aspects of addiction.


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