Does an addiction begin due to a signal from the genes? Or does an addiction begin due to something a person encounters in their environment? These are questions that researchers and doctors have been trying to answer for years. They could be questions that have a deep impact on how people are treated for their addictions. After all, if genes cause addictions, perhaps medications could keep them from forming. If a certain type of life causes an addiction, perhaps coaching about healthy choices could keep people safe.
It is likely that researchers will continue to debate about this issue in the months and years to come. But these are the best arguments researchers have right now, concerning the nature/nurture debate.
There are both physical changes and psychological changes involved in an addiction. Both are powerful, and both can be quite damaging.
Making Sense of the Research
Most people who have addictions develop those issues due to an interplay between nature and nurture. They may not intend to develop an addiction, but their genes might spark addiction’s pleasure. Their environment might make an addiction easier to sustain than it might be were there a different nurturing environment around that person. The two factors can intertwine.
Those same intertwining factors could be key to recovery. People who get help for addiction may get medications (for the nature problem) and therapy (for the nurture issue). They can attack their need to use and abuse drugs on both fronts, and when they do, they could find that they achieve a recovery that once seemed impossible. The two really could make all the difference for someone in need. The key is to get started with recovery as soon as possible. Those who do can recover.