Substance use disorder is a life-altering problem that no one enters voluntarily. While it can be easy to slip into addiction—whether it’s genetics, environment or something else—the road out can be littered with obstacles. At times, these hindrances can feel overwhelming. The good news is with therapy and support, you can overcome them.
The Role of Genetics & Addiction
All DNA is made up of recessive and dominant genes. Dominant genes, like the one for brown eyes, are prevalent in a population. Recessive genes, like green eyes, are less prevalent. Because your DNA is a unique combination of your parents’ DNA, your eye color can be the same or different from a sibling’s depending upon the combination of genes you inherit from your parents. In the same way, you may have inherited the genetic markers for addiction, while your siblings did not.
That is not the only connection between addiction and DNA. Substance use can rewire your brain’s DNA to crave more of it or change your mood. Over time, with continuous use, a substance can permanently change your DNA structure. The article, The Genetic Basis of Addictive Disorders, says:
In individuals who are vulnerable to addiction, repetitive exposure to the agent induces long-lasting neuroadaptive changes that further promote drug-seeking behaviors and ultimately lead to persistent and uncontrolled patterns of use that constitute addiction.
Other Causes of Addiction
Substance addiction doesn’t happen overnight or without reason. Your mental health, past experiences or the availability of substances also influence addiction. For instance, your mental health can affect your capacity to cope with situations or emotions.
Relatives can pass down genes for mental health disorders, too. According to MedlinePlus, if someone has a parent or sibling with major depression, that person is two or three times more likely to develop depression compared with the average person.
Physical or sexual trauma can increase the risk of substance addiction. The emotions or mental health disorders caused by intense trauma can lead to your desire to numb the pain. Alcohol or drugs can give temporary relief. Substances provide a fleeting sense of peace and comfort; however, after the effects of a substance wear off, you can feel lonely, depressed or anxious.
The community in which you work and live and your interpersonal relationships constitute your environment. The attitudes of family and friends can influence how you view substances. If substances are a part of your everyday life, an integral part of socialization or peer pressure exists, you are at an increased risk of substance addiction.
Treatment to Beat Addiction
It’s important to seek treatment from a source that understands the role genetics, mental health and your environment play in addiction. Equally important is the availability of programs that when combined can deliver comprehensive treatment. There are highly educated and trained professionals who know how to beat addictions.
Co-Occurring Disorder Therapy to Beat Addiction
In some cases, you can have a substance addiction and a mental health disorder, which is referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Therapy that can help you address both issues is more likely to produce long-term success. It can help you heal from sexual and physical violence, identify triggers and manage your emotions and reactions to external stimuli. In short, it can help you heal body, mind and spirit. Once you heal these essential elements of your being, you have the chance to create a healthy life.
Learning to take care of yourself means learning to find activities that help you maintain your sobriety. Holistic therapies can lead you on a journey to self-awareness. These therapies are a few types of holistic treatment:
- Walks in nature
Holistic therapy helps you discover how your mind, body and spirit work together to create your being. Substance addiction removes the link between your emotional, mental and physical self. Holistic therapies guide you to a place where you reflect, relax and learn how to love yourself in order to restore that connection.
Substance addiction is not a moral failing; it is a condition that can develop based on genetic, environmental and behavioral health factors. There are many resources available to help you manage your condition. You can change your life by believing in yourself.
Substance addiction is a powerful influence on your life. When you decide to seek help for your addiction, you can turn to Casa Palmera. We provide individual and group therapy, and we have an array of treatment options that focus on your physical and mental well-being. Your decision to help yourself is something we take seriously. We want to help you attain your goals. To speak with someone about addiction treatment call (855) 508-0473.