Are we a product of our surrounding environment or do our genes play the main role in who we are? The question of nature vs. nurture has been debated for centuries and it’s still going on today. But how does this age-old debate factor into addiction?

Does substance abuse start in your genetic make-up or is it something in your environment that triggers it? The answer to this question can have a profound impact on how people are treated for drug and alcohol addictions. Before we can find the answer to this question, we have to dive into the cases for both.

The Case that Addiction is Genetic

There are so many personal attributes that are determined by your genes – your hair color, eye color, height and reflexes, to name a few. So, can a drug or alcohol addiction be passed down through the same bits of genetic code?

According to the American Psychological Association, about 50 percent of your risk for addiction comes from your genes. That doesn’t mean someone who is genetically at risk for addiction will always develop one.

Recent research has shown that the DRD2 gene is one of the gene that contribute to the risk or addiction. The DRD2 is responsible for the brain to release more dopamine than it’s supposed to. The release of dopamine is one of the main factors that is causes an addiction to develop.

For example, you could have a set of genes that make the release of dopamine in the brain more enjoyable. You could also have a set of genes that lower the intensity of substance abuse side effects. That combination could drastically increase your risk of addiction.

The Case for Addiction Being Caused by Nurture

There’s no question that experiences have the potential to shape major aspects of our lives. Your environment has the ability to change the way you think, behave and feel. And there are some solid arguments that suggest our environment plays a big role in addiction.

For example, we know that people who have experienced trauma are at a higher risk of substance abuse. Trauma can make you feel like you’re always in danger. That feeling can cause immense feelings of stress and anxiety, and drugs or alcohol serve as a way for you to manage those symptoms. The point is that any trauma you experienced was not something you were born with.

When it comes to addiction, peer pressure can be another contributing environmental factor. If you’re around people who drink or use drugs more often, you’ll be at a higher risk for addiction. And unfortunately, we don’t always have control over the people who we spend our time with.

Is Addiction Caused by Nature or Nurture?

The truth is, both nature and nurture play a role in your risk of developing an addiction. These two factors are often woven together to create a unique set of circumstances for every individual.

The good news is that professional addiction treatment centers like Fountain Hills Recovery can use those circumstances to help you heal. That’s the benefit of taking a personalized approach to addiction recovery. No matter what mix of nature and nurture have led to your addiction, you can find lasting recovery with the right support.

Reclaim Your Life from Addiction at Fountain Hills Recovery

At Fountain Hills Recovery, we’re dedicated to providing addiction treatment that addresses your unique needs. We use evidence-based treatment to help you uncover the underlying causes of your addiction.

Our expert team will take the time to get to know you on a personal level. That way, we can identify any co-occurring mental health disorders you might be struggling with. Together, we can help you on your journey to lasting recovery.

If you’re ready to break free from addiction, contact our friendly admissions team today. Hope for your recovery is within reach and we’re standing by to help.