Understanding the Genetics Behind Addiction

Addiction is a national crisis. Communities all over the country are faced with nearly epidemic levels of addiction, and there’s great concern when it comes to prescription opioids. This presents a challenge for people living with chronic pain.

If you have chronic pain, there’s a likelihood that you will need prescription opioid medication. However, addiction has several risk factors, some of which can be controlled. The doctors at Advanced Pain and Spine can help guide you in finding effective pain management while minimizing addiction risk.

How addiction develops

Addiction can happen quite easily, especially when you’ve been prescribed opioid medication for pain. Your body quickly develops a tolerance to the medication. This requires you to take more of the medication to get the same positive effects as the original dose.

Once your body develops a tolerance to the medication, you can also experience unpleasant effects of withdrawal once you stop taking it. This can lead to seeking out additional medications to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

Symptoms of addiction may include the following:

You also may continue to abuse substances despite impairments caused by their use, including problems with work, at school, or in relationships.

The role of genetics in addiction

There appears to be a genetic component to addiction. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll become addicted if you have certain genetic tendencies; however, some people are more likely than others to develop an addiction.

The trait for addiction is best understood as a predisposition to the disorder. All human beings have individual traits, including physical and emotional traits, as well as predisposition to certain conditions.

There also seems to be an element of heritability involved in addiction. If you have parents or other first-degree relatives who’ve experienced addiction, you are more likely to develop an addiction as well.

However, the development of addiction seems to be a combination of heritability and environment or circumstance. You may have a greater risk due to your family history and genetics, but it may be only under certain circumstances — such as suffering from chronic pain — that addiction could take hold.

Getting pain relief when addiction is a risk

Managing pain can be a challenge when addiction is a risk. At Advanced Pain and Spine, we’re mindful of the risk of addiction and use pain medication responsibly. If you have a history of or are at a high risk for addiction, we offer two treatment options for opioid addiction.

The BioCorRx®️ recovery program involves a minimally invasive procedure that places an implant under your skin that delivers naltrexone into your system. This effective, non-addictive medication eliminates cravings for drugs or alcohol.

We may recommend a pain pump, which is implanted to deliver a steady dose of pain medication directly into your spinal fluid. If your opioid tolerance is high, this method of delivery can give you pain relief with much smaller doses.

Chronic pain conditions need to be effectively treated, even when addiction is a risk. The key is to use medication in a responsible manner. To learn more, call the doctors at Advanced Pain and Spine today or make an appointment online through our patient portal.

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