Genes and Addiction: Our Genetics Are Responsible for Our Addictions

Genes and Addiction
Tobacco and alcohol use, both genetically inheritable behaviors, influence risk for several complex diseases and disorders and are leading causes of mortality.

Scientists have concluded that the risk of addiction is a complex combination of both genes and environmental influences.

Despite advances in the science of genetics, it has been extremely difficult to spot the possible genetic contributions to addiction as a result of it likely involves a combination of inherited variants in multiple genes. To find answers related to nicotine addiction, for example, scientists must study complex and nuanced queries like, do certain genetic variants play a role in initiation of smoking and others play a role in behaviors leading to heavy smoking?

The University of Minnesota was part of a research collaboration that conducted the primary study, recently published in Nature genetics, to spot hundreds of genomic locations related to addictive behaviors.

Researchers found over five hundred genetic variants that affect the use of and addiction to tobacco and alcohol. Until now, only a few of such variants hadbeen identified.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Consider heart disease. It's partly due to genes and partly due to poor life style choices such as bad diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. the same is true for alternative common diseases like adult-onset diabetes.

Many types of cancers are due to a combination of genes and life style. but if your doctor said that you had diabetes or heart disease, you would not think you were bad person. you'd think, "What am i able to do to overcome this disease?" that's how you should approach addiction. Addiction is like most major diseases.

Addiction isn't a weakness. the fact that addiction crosses all socio-economic boundaries confirms that addiction is a disease. People who do not know about addiction can tell you that just need to be stronger to control your use. but if that was true then only unsuccessful people or unmotivated people would have an addiction, and yet 100 PC of high-functioning executives have an addiction.

If you're thinking that of addiction as a weakness, you may paint yourself into a corner that you just cannot get out of. You may specialize in being stronger and making an attempt to regulate your use, rather than treating addiction sort of a illness and specializing in stopping your use.

The study showed:

  1. 566 genetic variants in 406 genomic locations associated with multiple stages of tobacco use (initiation, cessation, and heaviness) and alcohol use;
  2. 150 loci, or locations in the genome, showing proof for association with two or more of the characteristics listed above;
  3. Increased genetic risk for smoking was associated with multiplied risk for a wide variety of health conditions like obesity and coronary artery disease;
  4. Genetic risk for alcohol use was associated with lower disease risk.

One goal of genetic research is to assist develop improved treatments. each new addiction gene identified becomes a potential "drug target." That is, researchers can focus on one gene product and develop a drug that modifies its activity. In thus doing, signals or pathways in the brain may be modified or stabilized to restore proper brain function.