Recently, a group of researchers examined why some people experience a higher peril than others for drug abuse and alcoholism. William R. Lovallo—Scientist from the OU College of Medicine—published one of the few studies targeted on how an individual’s genes contribute to addiction. Lovallo’s study showed that a small genetic mutation can place people at greater risk for drug addiction or alcohol. The study was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. A number of people ask whether addiction is induced by a person’s family environment or their genes. But, surprisingly it is caused by both of the reasons.
Nevertheless, Lovallo’s research zeroes on a specific gene and how it reacts to a person’s surroundings. COMT is a gene that is responsible for managing dopamine levels in the body. Dopamine is a chemical that is discharged when a person consumes alcohol or takes a drug such as amphetamine. Lovallo’s discovered the interplay amid a person’s adversity during childhood and genetic makeup. People having this sort of mutation of the COMT gene are more susceptible to the consequences of stress in their early lives, like emotionally distant parents or divorce. That intensified vulnerability mostly causes consumption of drugs and alcohol younger than age 15, which is one of the major independent predictors of addiction.
On a similar note, recently, a study showed that binge drinking alters DNA and that matters while treating addiction. Reportedly, binge drinking can activate genetic changes that cause people to crave for more alcohol, scientists from Rutgers University have discovered. It is the new evidence that alcohol consumption and drug use causes genetic alterations that might strengthen addiction and can be passed on to future generations. The research found that genes implicated in controlling drinking behavior worked in a different way in heavy drinkers.
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