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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.

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