Genetics plays a large part in determining whether a person is susceptible to addiction. Experts have determined that genetics are responsible for about half of addictive behavior and that environmental factors are responsible for the other half.
Of course, a person who is raised by individuals who suffer from alcoholism will often be exposed to both genetic and environmental factors that make alcoholism more likely.
When a person who is recovering from alcoholism is genetically predisposed to alcoholism, this is a factor that will often be considered in their treatment plan.
Genetics and Alcohol's Chemical Grasp
Alcoholism is a complicated disease because it has so many elements to it. When a person suffers from alcoholism, there are often many reasons for this. This is why people who are in treatment for alcoholism must generally undergo a large number of treatment types.
Counseling is often a very integral part of treatment because a recovering addict can work with their therapist to determine the emotional reasons behind their addiction and to find ways of dealing with those issues in a lasting way, as opposed to "drinking away" those emotions, as is common for many alcoholics.
An addict who suffers from a genetic predisposition to alcoholism will likely undergo a treatment program that also addresses the chemical addiction to alcohol.
Like all forms of addiction, alcoholism takes a hold of an addict's brain and, specifically reward center. When a person is addicted to a substance like alcohol, their brain's reward center becomes entirely fixated on drinking, to the point that when alcohol is not in the blood stream, the brain's reward center sets off a reaction of unpleasant sensations known as withdrawal symptoms.
People who are genetically predisposed to alcoholism may have a particularly difficult time detoxifying from alcohol for this reason, and thus the detox portion of their treatment must be geared toward a person who will exhibit severe withdrawal symptoms.
Prescriptions For Addicts
There are drugs available that have been successful in helping to curb use in addicts who struggle with addictions to drugs like heroin. The drug naltrexone, for example, is often prescribed to heroin addicts because it targets the brain's reward center and may help to eliminate the favorable or euphoric effect of heroin on the brain.
By doing this, the desire for heroin often decreases in addicts who use naltrexone. Some doctors have found that patients with alcohol addiction may also respond well naltrexone. It may be possible that additional drug treatments emerge to help with the chemical aspects of addiction.
Addiction is Different for Everyone
Whether a person's alcohol addiction is caused primarily be genetics or environmental factors or a combination of the two, the fact remains that no two addicts are the same. Every addict becomes chemically dependent for different reasons, and every alcoholic will have a slightly different path to getting sober.
This is why choosing a treatment program is such an important part of successful recovery. Finding a program that fits the personality and needs of an individual addict can help ensure that they respond well to the tools being offered to them by counselors and other addiction treatment professionals.
Most treatment programs include a number of different types of treatments because different types of treatment are effective for addicts in different ways. Some recovering addicts find that the key to recovery is finding ways of dealing with triggers to drink, while others may have more success in group or individual therapy.
Alcoholism is a complicated disease with many different types of roots, but with the right program, and alcoholic can recover from this disease.