Do you believe that genetics can be responsible for addictive behavior? As a counselor for both in-class and online drug and MIP classes I have long held that genetics do play a role in addictive behavior. It works to make you less or more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
A new study reported by ABC News has revealed a link between the way a teenager’s brain is wired and their likelihood of addiction.
Just how instinctive is a teen’s desire to smoke pot?
In the largest functional brain imaging study ever performed, researchers found that poor impulse control is pre-wired in some individuals. Specifically, they have identified specific brain networks linked to impulse control and drug addiction — and that these differences exist even before an individual is exposed to drugs or alcohol.
The study scanned participants with a functional MRI, allowing them to examining how different parts of the brain work together in real time. The study used almost 2,000 14-year-olds, asking them to perform repetitive tasks, and then measured their ability to stop mid-task.
Called “stop-signal reaction time,” it is a measure that is used to gauge inhibitory control. Patients who abuse drugs or alcohol perform poorly on this test. So do children with ADHD.
Interestingly, they were able to identify teens who had prior exposure to alcohol, nicotine, or other illicit drugs and were able to identify specific brain patterns associated with early experimentation with these substances.
Furthermore, teens with poor impulse control but no prior substance use had brain images similar to those who had already admitted use.
Given that abstinence is the best remedy for not becoming addicted, this research is especially important because there may be an opportunity to identify teens at risk before they indulge.
This is a major breakthrough with respect to addiction. As a parent wouldn’t you like to have your children tested to see how prone they are to addiction. If genetics play a role I know where my kids stand.