FREE DOWNLOAD: A Patient's Guide To Healing With Ketamine

Is Substance Use Disorder Genetic?

Is Substance Use Disorder Genetic?

Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, is a complex condition that can significantly impact an individual’s health and well-being. One of the most frequently asked questions about substance use disorder is whether it is genetic or not. In this blog post, we will explore the current research on the genetic factors that may contribute to substance use disorder.

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of using alcohol or other drugs that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress. This can include issues such as difficulty controlling the use of the substance, persistent use despite harmful consequences, and problems functioning in daily life.


Research suggests that genetics play a significant role in developing substance use disorder. Studies have found that individuals with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) with substance use disorder are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Additionally, studies have identified specific genetic variations associated with an increased risk of substance use disorder. These genetic variations can affect how an individual’s brain processes rewards, stress, and emotions, making them more vulnerable to abuse drugs or alcohol.

Environmental Factors

Genetics are not the only factor contributing to substance use disorder. Environmental factors such as stress, trauma, and social influences can also play a significant role in the development of the condition. Stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one or financial difficulties, can trigger the onset of substance use disorder. Social influences, such as peer pressure and easy access to drugs, can also contribute to the development of the condition. Furthermore, trauma or abuse can lead to a higher risk of developing substance use disorder to cope with emotional pain.

Treatment with Ketamine

Ketamine has been used to treat substance use disorder because it can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. When an individual is struggling with addiction, they may experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit using the substance. These symptoms can be incredibly difficult to manage and make maintaining sobriety challenging.

Ketamine works by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain, which can reduce cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. This is because ketamine can help regulate neurotransmitters such as glutamate and GABA, which can help regulate pain perception. Additionally, ketamine also promotes neuroplasticity in the brain, creating new neural pathways, and allowing the individual to process traumatic memories differently.

This neuroplasticity can be particularly beneficial for individuals struggling with substance use disorder. Addiction is often associated with specific neural pathways in the brain, and these pathways can make it challenging for individuals to quit using substances. By promoting neuroplasticity, ketamine can help change these neural pathways, making it easier for individuals to quit the substance.

Final Thoughts

At Advanced Wellness & Pain, we understand the challenges of substance use disorder and the importance of finding effective treatment options. Our team is dedicated to providing the support and care needed to help individuals overcome substance use disorder and achieve lasting recovery. One of the treatments we offer is ketamine therapy, which is highly effective in reducing cravings and improving overall well-being.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, we encourage you to reach out to our team to learn more about how ketamine therapy can help.

[Please Contact Us For Any Help!]

Related Posts

James T. Leathem, DO

Dr. James Leathem is a board-certified anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated from Florida Southern College with a bachelor of science in marketing management with minors in sociology and communications. He obtained his medical degree from Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology at Michigan State University and its affiliated McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

In 2015, after residency, Dr. Leathem returned to Arizona to practice anesthesiology. He joined Red Mountain Anesthesiologists and worked primarily at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, performing 100% of his own cases. He was made partner in the group after demonstrating 3 years of anesthesia excellence and administering over 4,000 anesthetics. In 2019, a corporate change occurred and an opportunity presented itself in which he was able to transition out of the hospital to surgery center and clinic-based anesthesia.

Dr. Leathem realizes that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, his career took a different direction. This change led him to collaborate with Dr. Wong and Dr. Sharma and they founded Advanced Wellness and Pain (AWAP). Their mission is to provide a variety of state-of-the-art procedural services that improve patients’ quality of life and overall physical and mental well-being.

Dr. Leathem believes that we are all a work in progress and that each day, one should strive to make positive changes in their life. He is here to help empower each patient on their journey to be their best self and live their best life. When you are being cared for by Dr. Leathem, you can be assured that he will give you his undivided attention and time.

Gregory Wong, MD

Dr. Wong is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of both the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Arizona Society of Anesthesiology. He did his undergraduate training at the University of California at Davis, Davis, California; doctorate training at The University of Health Sciences of the Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL; and his post-doctoral training at the Integrated Program at the University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ. He has spent his whole 24-year career practicing in Arizona.

Dr. Wong grew up in the Bay Area of California. He is married and is raising three daughters. At the early age of 12 years old, he knew he wanted to become a physician. His love of the human spirit, intrigue of human physiology, and compassion for human suffering led him to the path of anesthesiology and pain medicine.

Today, Dr. Wong realizes patients need a holistic biophysical-mental-spiritual care. This philosophy has brought him to the studies of regenerative medicine and infusion therapies. He has firsthandily witnessed the overwhelming success of these therapies for treating chronic pain and depression and the return of patients of “life-functionality.”

“There has never been a time more important than now to advocate for our patients in these difficult times. We owe it to our patients to offer these state-of-the-art treatment modalities that weren’t available before.”

Deepak Sharma, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharma is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He completed three degrees at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA: a Bachelor in Finance, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Medicine. He went on to complete residency at the Mount Sinai Morningside-West Hospital System in New York, NY and post-graduate fellowship at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Dr. Sharma is committed to treating his patients as a whole with a comprehensive biophysical-mental-spiritual approach. He is a lifelong learner and is constantly researching cutting-edge therapies backed by scientific studies. He has taken a particular interest in regenerative and infusion therapies after witnessing firsthand their significant benefits on those suffering from chronic pain and depression. In his free time, Dr. Sharma enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading, and meditation.

Call Scottsdale
Call Gilbert