Opioid addiction has taken a serious toll on America, and it’s a common question to wonder if genetics play a role in this, as well as other addictions. Researchers have been working diligently to answer this question. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Therapeutics found a potential answer – yes, and it’s a genetic variant on one chromosome, near a gene called RGMA.
The study involved analysis of over 5,000 Americans who had taken opioids before, with the researchers working to understand the difference between those Americans who had become dependent after taking opioids and those who did not. They found a genetic variant, just as they found other genetic variants in the past, that seem to relate to opioid dependence. In doing this, the research team studied correlations between different genes, as well as relationships to genes that play a role in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, scientists believe that changes to molecules could disrupt the brain’s wiring, predisposing a person for risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. More research is being conducted to solidify the findings of the study.
Many genes impact a person’s susceptibility to addiction, making genetic studies a very tedious task. Human biology is so complex because not every person with an addiction carries the same gene, and not every person who carries a gene that would be considered the “addictive gene” will develop an addiction. What’s most important is that no matter whether genetics play a role or not, we do have the ability to make choices that can lower our risk for addiction.
For example, seeking out therapy for emotional turmoil we endure, no matter the age, is critical to avoid abusing substances later. In addition, paying close attention to the environment we live in and the people we spend our time with can provide some great insight as to how we’ve learned to cope with emotions and pain, as well as some destructive coping mechanisms we’ve picked up on over the years. If you struggle with opioid addiction, make the decision to seek help today. It’s never too late.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.