Genetics vs. Environment: What Causes Addiction?

May 15, 2022

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” There is a lot of debate surrounding what determines addiction. Some people believe that it is genetic, while others think it is environmental.

Which one is right?

The answer may not be black and white, but rather somewhere in the middle. In this blog post, we will explore the latest research on the role of genetics and the environment on addiction.

The role of genetics in addiction is a complex topic that is still being studied.

However, current research suggests that there is a strong genetic component to these diseases. In fact, it is estimated that genetics account for about half of the risk of someone developing an addiction.

Many genes may contribute to addiction.

For example, a gene called DRD2 has been linked to alcoholism. This gene affects how the brain processes dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure and reward. People with this gene are more likely to become addicted to alcohol because they enjoy the feeling of being drunk more than people without the gene. Additionally, a gene called SERT has been linked to drug addiction. This gene affects the way serotonin is transported in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. People with this gene are more likely to become addicted to drugs because they enjoy the feeling of being high more than people without the gene.

While genetics may predispose someone to addiction, it is important to remember that environmental factors also influence these diseases.

Environmental factors such as poverty, trauma, and peer pressure can lead to addiction. These factors increase the risk of exposure to drugs and alcohol. They also make it more likely that someone will start using drugs or alcohol at an early age. And, once someone starts using, they are more likely to become addicted.

So, which is more important? Genetics or environment?

The answer is both. It is important to remember that addiction is a complex disorder caused by a combination of genetics and the environment. Neither side can be wholly blamed for addiction – it is the result of a delicate interaction between the two. So, what can we do to prevent addiction?

The best way to combat addiction is through early intervention and prevention programs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, it is important to remember that help is available. Treatment should be tailored to the individual and should address all of the person’s needs, including physical, mental, and spiritual health.


Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For more information about the signs of trauma in women or to learn about our programs, call us today: 561.841.1272.

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