How Do Our Family Genetics Play A Role In Addiction?

There are a lot of people who don’t understand how addiction works, whether they’ve been through it themselves or if they know someone who has. 

Some people believe that a person’s ability to become addicted is just a matter of willpower rather than the many risk factors that might make a person more vulnerable. Genetics, for example, is potentially one of the most significant risk factors for addiction and recovery.

Genetics And Addiction

Many of the social stigmas that addicts face are the result of widespread misperceptions about the condition. Many individuals, according to research, feel that addiction is the product of a person’s own moral bankruptcy or weakness. There are several risk factors for addiction, including environmental, developmental, and genetic variables.

In many ways, our genes make us who we are. Decades of research have shown that if someone in a person’s family is an addict, that person is more likely to become an addict as well. 

Those with a genetic proclivity for addiction who also deal with environmental issues such as poverty and developmental factors such as being exposed to drugs and alcohol at an early age have a significantly greater probability of becoming addicts than people who do not deal with these things (or who only experience one of them).

Your genes aren’t the only reason you could become an addict, but it’s crucial to be aware of them so you can stay in control. For example, if you know you’re more susceptible to developing a drug addiction, you should constantly be mindful of how much you use and take greater measures than others.

What About The Chances Of Recovery?

It might scare you to learn that your genes can affect how likely it is that you will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. If you are already prone to this problem, you might start to think that you can’t stop it. This is not true, though. Some people should never drink alcohol at all, but even if your parents drank, you don’t have to become an alcoholic.

But what happens if you do become addicted? Does this mean that nothing can be done?

Of course not. Even though addiction can’t be fully cured, it can be treated in the same way that asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure can – and these can also be due to genetics. The truth is, though, that addiction treatment has to be tailored to the needs and skills of each patient for the same reason why addiction might strike one person but not another: genetics.

Whether or not you will respond to a certain treatment can depend on your genes. So can how you were raised and where you live. All of these things play a role in treating addiction, just like they do in the process of becoming an addict.

What Can Be Done?

Professional therapists with plenty of knowledge and experience will understand the role that genetics can play in a person’s addiction to drugs and alcohol, just as they will understand the role that other factors, including environmental ones, will play. 

The key is to work with a therapist to understand how much of a determining factor genetics is – when you know that, you can look at eliminating the issues that aren’t genetic until you’re left only with what can’t be removed.

It can’t be removed, but with good therapy, the impact of genetics on your life can be minimized. Whether you choose talking therapy, one on one therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, or any number of other options, you can work on this together with your therapist so that you understand more about yourself and how to deal with your demons.

In the main, there are three ways to go about this, and the Louisville Addiction Treatment Center can offer all of them, each one tailored to the individual. Read on to find out what they are.

Opting For Inpatient Therapy 

Inpatient recovery programs, also called residential treatment, require people who want to get over their addictions to check themselves into a controlled environment. Patients stay at a clinic where they can get emotional and medical help at any time.

It’s important to get ready for rehab the right way. Preparing for treatment doesn’t take a set amount of time. It’s important to pick a date to start rehab and get things in order before that date. Some things you need to take care of before going to rehab are:

  • Talking with your boss
  • Finding places for kids or other family members to live
  • Plan how to get to and from the rehab center
  • Find out what personal items you can bring with you

During inpatient treatment, people can put all of their attention on getting healthy and sober without having to worry about other things. In residential treatment, a typical day is planned out and accounted for. 

Psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists work with inpatients one-on-one and in groups to help them get better. Most inpatient programs last between 28 days and six months.

Medically assisted detox is the first step of inpatient care. Doctors and people who work with people who are addicted to drugs watch the patients’ vital signs while the drugs leave their bodies. 

During detox, drug cravings are common and can be hard to get rid of, which can lead to relapse. Getting constant medical care during inpatient treatment helps keep people from going back to using. Clinicians can help lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms by giving the right medicine and medical advice.

Opting For Outpatient Therapy

Fewer restrictions are put on people in outpatient programs than inpatient ones. Most outpatient recovery programs require people to spend 10 to 12 hours a week at a local treatment center.

These sessions’ major aims are to educate individuals about drug usage, to provide individual and group therapy, and to teach those who are dependent how to live without their substance. 

Outpatient drug rehab may be appropriate for someone with a minor addiction or as part of a broader treatment strategy. Outpatient drug therapy may last 3 to 6 months, which is comparable to inpatient treatment, or it might extend more than a year. It really depends on the patient, how well they react to treatment, and their motives for quitting their drug or alcohol dependence.

Those with moderate to severe drug withdrawal symptoms may be better served by outpatient counseling rather than inpatient detox. Compared to inpatient detox, outpatient detox is safer, more successful, and less time-consuming.

Detoxing in an outpatient facility requires that patients undergo physical and mental examinations. If you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms like depression, anxiety, and a quicker heart rate, you may be prescribed medication to alleviate them.

This kind of medication therapy allows patients to remain at home while receiving treatment. Thus, it allows individuals to continue their jobs while maintaining tight ties with loved ones. The majority of outpatient treatment center sessions take place at night or early in the morning so that participants can retain their daily routines.

The Telemedicine Approach 

Something that was perhaps not quite so well-known or accepted before COVID-19 and the stay at home orders is telemedicine. This effectively means that a patient speaks to a doctor or therapist via the phone or a video call rather than face to face. There are a number of benefits to this approach, but one that stands out is that it makes therapy and getting past addiction much more flexible and therefore, less stressful. When it’s less stressful, there is more chance of success.

The great thing about telemedicine in this situation is that it can be used as the sole therapy method, or it can be part of a wider program of treatment, even used as a ‘top up’ for patients who are in between sessions and need some support or guidance.

Thanks to better technology, telemedicine is now simpler to access, especially for individuals who may not consider themselves computer literate

Telemedicine eliminates the need to drive, park, walk, or sit in a waiting room while visiting a doctor’s office or clinic. From the comfort of your own bed or sofa, you can chat to your doctor. For those who have a hectic schedule, a virtual visit may be more convenient than a physical one. 

If you utilize telemedicine, you may be able to avoid taking time off work or arranging childcare entirely. This means that not only is it open to all, but that having the addition of telemedicine within your treatment options ensures that even those who would find other forms of therapy difficult, if not impossible, can benefit and get well. 

If you feel you would benefit from anything mentioned above, or you’re concerned that your genetics play a huge part in your life when it comes to addiction and you don’t know how to help yourself, finding the right treatment center is the first step in the right direction.

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