Biology and Addiction

Is Substance Abuse Hereditary?

Biology and Addiction

Substance addictions are extremely powerful. At the Crosby Clinic, we understand substances are so strong that they have the ability to take over a person’s brain and control an addict’s thoughts and actions. Addictions can make addicts seek out drugs or alcohol no matter what the cost. Not only does a substance use disorder have an immense impact on an addict’s life, but it can be extremely destructive to families, ruin friendships, and result in the loss of jobs.

It may be difficult for individuals not dealing with addiction to understand what it is like, but there is a very real reason for this to happen. Addicts may seem irrational to onlookers, but addiction changes the way the brain functions and creates a new norm for the addict.

Changes In The Brain Of An Addict

The brains of a non-addicts work by rewarding people for healthy behavior. The brain recognizes activities like exercising, eating, and loving emotions, which often make people feel good. The brain has a positive response to these positive and healthy activities, which often drives people to perform these actions repeatedly. Alternatively, if a person engages in dangerous or reckless behavior, the brain sends a response of fear, causing the person to stop engaging in this type of activity. The front area of the brain sends alerts that influence a person so they can decide whether or not the consequences are worth it.

The brain of an addict responds differently. Instead of rewarding activities that are generally positive and alerting for activities that are dangerous, addicts’ brains reward them for negative activities and alert them for the positive. For individuals dealing with substance use disorders, the brain rewards them for doing drugs and sends alerts when they refuse them. Biologically, this is why it is extremely difficult for individuals to get substance abuse help. This reversal in response from the brain is often what encourages and influences an addict into continuing usage.

What Type Of Disease Is Addiction?

Addiction is considered to be a type of developmental disease in that it usually begins in early childhood then continues through into adolescence and adulthood. Substance abuse negatively alters the way the brain functions in terms of rationalization, emotional stability, and making decisions. As substance usage continues, the brain continues to rewire itself into a stronger force of reinforcement.

What Needs To Be Done?

Anyone dealing with a substance use disorder should consider finding residential drug treatment programs to get the help they need. At Crosby Clinic, we help addicts detox safely and comfortably in our medically-assisted detox facility. Individuals are able to relax in heat controlled beds as their body rids itself of harmful substances. After detox, addicts begin substance abuse treatment programs that best fit their individual circumstances.

Residential rehabilitation treatment programs at the Crosby Clinic allow patients to stay long-term in our comfortably San Diego facility and attend group and individual counseling sessions, perform various physical activities, learn healthy cooking habits, and work toward a more positive life.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a substance use disorder, contact an intake specialist at (760) 751-1234 to get help today.

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