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Re: causes of addiction Elizabeth

Posted by Alan on February 24, 2002, at 22:23:45

In reply to Re: causes of addiction Alan, posted by Elizabeth on February 23, 2002, at 17:42:29

> > There is also a very small population that have a genetic "predisposition" to becoming addicted that figures into the equation...
>
> I'd like to discuss this further. What is this predisposition? How do you know if you have it? How do we know that it exists at all? Is if possible for a person who is genetically predisposed to use potentially addictive drugs without becoming addicted? What other factors contribute to addiction, besides genes? Are there predispositions to become addicted to specific drugs (or classes of drugs)?
>
> I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear what other people have to say.
>
> BTW: good links; thanks for posting them! I encourage people to read them.
>
> -elizabeth
**************************************************
Here are some facts on biological influences (using addiction to alcohol)
* Adopted individuals are more susceptible to alcoholism if one or both of their biological parents has a history of alcoholism.

*Having an identical twin with alcoholism puts a male at especially increased risk for alcohol problems.

*Compared with other children, children whose parents abuse alcohol have a higher tolerance for multiple alcoholic drinks taken over an hour or two. They also show a smaller evoked brain response to certain types of sensory stimulation.

*Researchers have bred rats and mice that prefer alcoholic drinks to water. One such strain has reduced levels of a brain chemical called NPY; mice engineered to overproduce NPY are very sensitive to alcohol's sedating effect and drink little.

*Molecular geneticists have identified a gene on chromosome 11 that is more common among people with alcoholism, especially severe cases.

Such findings have fueled the search for a better understanding of the genetic and bio-chemical influences on adiction. THe most extensive study yet- a $25 million dollar, 5 year analysis of 600 alcoholics and their relatives- is underway. If biological markers for being prone to addiction can be found, then perhaps young people at risk for specific addiction can be identified and counseled.

Even so, there are still always psychological and cultural (social) influences that will play a part in abuse of substances.


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