Are some people more prone to addiction?

What is Addiction

Addiction, at point-blank, for people means, that a person who is addicted does not have control on what they do, take or use and become dependent on it to cope with daily life. The most common Addictions are physical, things people consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but it can also be something abstract as gambling or buying lottery tickets or perhaps harmless products such as chocolate or maintaining perfect hygiene, which in other words

addiction may refer to a substance dependence(e.g) drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

Although if a person is not careful, a habit may become an addiction overtime and they may experience psychological and/or physical effects. What the difference between a habit and an addiction, basically when a person is addicted they are not in control of their choices while with a habit a person is in control and can stop when they want without a problem.

Signs of addiction

The signs and symptoms of substance dependence vary according to the individual, the substance they are addicted to, their family history (genetics), and personal circumstances. Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance - the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.

Most common sign is substance dependence when a person is addicted to a substance, such as a drug, alcohol or nicotine, they are not able to control the use of that substance, substance dependence can cause powerful cravings no matter how much the addict wants to quit he can’t at least not without help.

Here is a list of the few but many addictions symptoms

The person takes the substance and cannot stop - in many cases, such as nicotine, alcohol or drug dependence, at least one serious attempt was made to give up, but unsuccessfully.

Withdrawal symptoms - when body levels of that substance go below a certain level the patient has physical and mood-related symptoms. There are cravings, bouts of moodiness, bad temper, poor focus, a feeling of being depressed and empty, frustration, anger, bitterness and resentment.

Addiction continues despite health problem awareness - the individual continues taking the substance regularly, even though they have developed illnesses linked to it. For example, a smoker may continue smoking even after a lung or heart condition develops.

Social and/or recreational sacrifices - some activities are given up because of an addiction to something. For example, an alcoholic may turn down an invitation to go camping or spend a day out on a boat if no alcohol is available, a smoker may decide not to meet up with friends in a smoke-free pub or restaurant.

Dealing with problems - an addicted person commonly feels they need their drug to deal with their problems.

Obsession - an addicted person may spend more and more time and energy focusing on ways of getting hold of their substance, and in some cases how to use it.

Denial - a significant number of people who are addicted to a substance are in denial. They are not aware (or refuse to acknowledge) that they have a problem.

Excess consumption - in some addictions, such as alcohol, some drugs and even nicotine, the individual consumes it to excess. The consequence can be blackouts (cannot remember chunks of time) or physical symptoms, such as a sore throat and bad persistent cough (heavy smokers). Taking an initial large dose - this is common with alcoholism. The individual may gulp drinks down in order to get drunk and then feel good.

Having problems with the law - this is more a characteristic of some drug and alcohol addictions (not nicotine, for example). This may be either because the substance impairs judgment and the individual takes risks they would not take if they were sober, or in order to get hold of the substance they break the law.

  • Taking risks (1) - in some cases the addicted individual make take risks to make sure he/she can obtain his/her substance, such as stealing or trading sex for money/drugs.
  • Taking risks (2) - while under the influence of some substances the addict may engage in risky activities, such as driving fast


Relationship problems - these are more common in drug/alcohol addiction.

What are the Causes?

Doctors say there is a link between the repeated use of an addictive substance and how the human brain experiences pleasure. The causes of addiction vary considerably, and are not often fully understood. They are generally caused by a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors. The addictive substance, be it nicotine, alcohol or some drug actually causes physical changes in some nerve cells in the brain. Another name for a nerve cell is a neuron. Neurons release neurotransmitters into the synapses (empty spaces) between nerve cells, which are received by receptors in other neurons.

Tolerance increases after a while, the user of the potentially addictive substance does not get the same pleasure and has to increase the dose - his/her body’s tolerance to it increases. Eventually, the user no longer experiences pleasure from the substance and takes it simply to prevent withdrawal symptoms - taking the substance just makes them feel normal. Experts say that when tolerance increases, the risk of addiction is much greater.

  • How Does Addiction Take Hold in the Brain?

Drug abuse disrupts the brain circuits involved in memory and control over behavior. Memories of the drug experience can trigger craving as can exposure to people, places, or things associated with former drug use. Stress is also a powerful trigger for craving. Control over behavior is compromised because the affected frontal brain regions are what a person needs to exert inhibitory control over desires and emotions.

Repeated exposure to large, drug-induced dopamine surges has the insidious consequence of ultimately blunting the response of the dopamine system to everyday stimuli. Thus the drug disturbs a person’s normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substitutes new priorities concerned with procuring and using the drug. The rapid dopamine “rush” from drugs of abuse mimics but greatly exceeds in intensity and duration the feelings that occur in response to such pleasurable stimuli as the sight or smell of food.

That is why addiction is a brain disease. As a person’s reward circuitry becomes increasingly dulled and less sensitive by drugs, nothing else can compete with them—food, family, and friends lose their relative value, while the ability;the need to seek and use drugs evaporates. Ironically and cruelly, eventually even the drug loses its ability to reward, but the compromised brain leads addicted people to pursue it regardless of losing its pleasurable feeling to the person; the memory of the drug has become more powerful than the drug itself.

  • Why Are Some People More Vulnerable Than Others

Like many other diseases, vulnerability to addiction is influenced by multiple factors, with genetic, environmental, and developmental factors all contributing. Genetics accounts for approximately half of an individual’s vulnerability to addiction, including the effects of the environment on gene function and expression. Elements of our social environments—culture, neighborhoods, schools, families, peer groups— can also greatly influence individual choices and decisions about behaviors related to substance abuse, which can in turn affect vulnerability. Environmental variables such as stress or drug exposure can cause lasting changes to genes and their function, known as epigenetic changes, which can result in long-term changes to brain circuits.

Indeed, addiction is a quintessential gene-byenvironment- interaction disease: a person must be exposed to drugs (environment) to become addicted, yet exposure alone does not determine whether that will happen—predisposing genes interact with this and other environmental factors to create vulnerability.

recovery_brain.jpg

Recovery of brain dopamine transporters in methamphetamine (METH) abuser after protracted abstinence. With treatment that keeps abusers off METH, drug-altered brains can recover at least some of their former functioning, as these images illustrate. Using positron emission tomography, we can measure the level of dopamine transporters (DAT) in the striatal region of the brain as an indicator of dopamine system function. The METH abuser (center) shows greatly reduced levels of DAT (yellow and green), which return to nearly normal following prolonged abstinence (red and yellow). Source: Volkow, N.D., et al. 2001. Journal of Neuroscience 21:9414–18

Treatments for addiction

The first step for the addicted person is to acknowledge that there is a substance dependency problem (addiction problem). The next step is to get help. Treatment options for addiction depend on several factors, including what type of substance it is and how it affects the patients. Typically, treatment includes a combination of inpatient and outpatient programs, counseling (psychotherapy), self-help groups, pairing with individual sponsors, and medication.

Treatment programs - these typically focus on getting sober and preventing relapses. Individual, group and/or family sessions may form part of the program. Depending on the level of addiction, patient behaviors, and type of substance this may be in outpatient or residential settings.

Psychotherapy - there may be one-to-one (one-on-one) or family sessions with a specialist.
Help with coping with cravings, avoiding the substance, and dealing with possible relapses are key to effective addiction programs. If the patient’s family can become involved there is a better probability of positive outcomes.

Self-help groups - these may help the patient meet other people with the same problem, which often boosts motivation. Self-help groups can be a useful source of education and information too. Examples include Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. For those dependent on nicotine, ask your doctor or nurse for information on local self-help groups.

Help with withdrawal symptoms – the main aim is usually to get the addictive substance out of the patient’s body as quickly as possible. Sometimes the addict is given gradually reduced dosages (tapering). In some cases a substitute substance is given. Depending on what the person is addicted to, as well as some other factors, the doctor may recommend treatment either as an outpatient or inpatient.

  • The doctor or addiction expert may recommend either an outpatient or inpatient residential treatment center. Withdrawal treatment options vary and depend mainly on what substance the individual is addicted to:

Addiction to depressants - these may include dependence on barbiturates or benzodiazepines. During withdrawal the patient may experience anxiety, insomnia, sweating and restlessness. In rare cases there may be whole-body tremors, seizures, hallucinations, hypertension (high blood pressure), accelerated heart rate and fever. In severe cases there may be delirium, which according to the Mayo Clinic, USA, could be life-threatening.

Addiction to stimulants - these may include cocaine and other amphetamines. During withdrawal the patient may experience tiredness, depression, anxiety, moodiness, low enthusiasm, sleep disturbances, and low concentration. Treatment focuses on providing support, unless the depression is severe, in which case a medication may be prescribed.

Addiction to opioids – Opioids are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed for their analgesic, or pain-killing, properties.They include substances such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and methadone. Opioids may be more easily recognized by drug names such as Kadian, Avinza, OxyContin, Percodan, Darvon, Demerol, Vicodin, Percocet, and Lomotil. During withdrawal there may be sweating, anxiety and stuffy nose – symptoms tend to be mild. In rare cases there may be serious sleeping problems, tachycardia, hypertension and diarrhea. The doctor may prescribe methadone, or buprenorphine for cravings (alternative substances).

Problems with Addiction

Addiction to substances or activities can sometimes lead to serious problems at home, work, school and socially here is a list of most common problems.

Health - addiction to a substance, be it a drug, narcotic or nicotine usually has health consequences. In the case of drug/alcohol addiction there may be mental/emotional as well as physical health problems. In the case of nicotine addiction the problems tend to be just with physical health.

Coma, unconsciousness or death - some drugs, taken in high doses or together with other substances may be extremely dangerous.

Risk of diseases - people who inject drugs have a risk of developing HIV/AIDS or hepatitis if they share needles. Some substances, including specific drugs or alcohol can lead towards more risky sexual behavior (unprotected sex), increasing the probability of developing sexually transmitted diseases.

Accidental injuries/death - people with a drug/alcohol addiction have a higher risk of falling over, or driving dangerously when under the influence.

Suicide - the risk of suicide is significantly higher for a person who is addicted to a drug/alcohol, compared with non-addicted individuals. This is not the case with nicotine dependence.

Relationship problems - social, family and marital relationships can be severely strained, leading to family breakups, etc.

Child neglect/abuse - the percentage of neglected or abused children who have one or both parents with an addiction problem is higher compared to those whose parents are healthy. These figures apply to some drugs and alcohol, not to just nicotine dependence.

Unemployment, poverty and homelessness - a significant number of drug/alcohol addicts find themselves without work or anywhere to live.

Problems with the law - if the substance is expensive, the addicted individual may resort to crime in order to secure his/her supply, making it more likely there will be problems with police, including imprisonment.

Risk Factors for addiction

Anybody can potentially become addicted to some substances regardless of age, sex or social status, these are some factors of which may increase the risk:

  • Age at time of substance abuse's start. Teens who use drugs and alcohol are more likely to be addicted when they become adults. During the teen years, the brain is still growing and it is very susceptible to the effects of drugs and alcohol. When a teenager with a developing brain experiments as they are known to do, the conditions are just right for addiction.
  • Family history/genetics. Like other issues such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, there is a genetic component to addiction. Those who have a family history of addiction and drug/alcohol abuse need to be aware of their susceptibility to addiction. Genetics does guarantee that a person will be an addict, but it means that they will have a much harder time quitting drugs if they ever start using.
  • Environment. Factors in the community and the home are contributors to addiction. People who grew up in abusive homes or with addicted parents are a lot more likely to become addicts themselves. Living in a crime-ridden community can also be a risk factor; a community where drugs and alcohol are commonly abused will encourage the spread of addiction.
  • Psychological issues. Those with problems such as ADD, anxiety and depression are more vulnerable to addiction. There are some personality traits that increase a person's risk, such as problems with impulse control and anger management. Those with perfectionistic tendencies and low self-esteem can also easily fall into addiction.
  • Substance of choice. Some are more addictive than others; anyone using them could become addicted. Such substances are heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Even those without other risk factors can become an addict after using these only a few times

Gender - a significantly higher percentage of people addicted to a substance are male. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, males are twice as likely as females to have problems with drugs.

Having a mental illness/condition - people with depression, ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and several other mental conditions/illnesses have a higher risk of eventually becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol or nicotine.

Peer pressure - trying to conform with other members of a group and gain acceptance can encourage people to take up the use of potentially addictive substances, and eventually become addicted to them. Peer pressure is an especially strong factor for young people.


Stress - if a person’s stress levels are high there is a greater chance a substance, such as alcohol may be used in an attempt to blank out the upheaval. Some stress hormones are linked to alcoholism.

Loneliness - being alone and feeling lonely can lead to the consumption of substances as a way of copying; resulting in a higher risk of addiction.

Does Genetics play a role in addiction?

This article looked at the genetic components of nicotine addiction. The results found that no clear alleles were associated with nicotine addiction in twin studies. The authors state that nicotine addiction is likely to be a combination of alleles interacting with the environment. This study also looked at ways to screen people to reduce nicotine addiction and the ethical issues raised when genetically screening people for addiction. The results were that the screening process would not be effective and other methods in place now are much better. The ethical issues of finding who is or isn’t susceptible to addiction involve “pessimism about capacity to quit” and privacy about individuals genome. Currently addiction for nicotine is an “underdeveloped” field and need time to learn more about the genetic component of nicotine addiction.
Hall, W. D., Gartner, C. E., & Carter, A. (2008). The genetics of nicotine addiction liability : Ethical and social policy implications. Addiction (Abingdon.Print), 103(3), 350-359. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/62050475?accountid=15182

This article reviews the data that supports polygenic models that have heterogeneity for genetic architectures of addictions and related phenotypes. Ethical issues when analyzing GWA(genome wide association) . The evidence that provide the current understanding of the “molecular genetics of individual differences in vulnerability to substance dependence and related phenotypes”. Applies GWA data for dependence of different substances. Overlaps the data addictions with other heritable phenotypes that include brain based disorders and traits such as ability to quit smoking Alzheimer’s and bipolar. They found that that the alleles that are responsible for addictions are “so evolutionarily old that they are present in members of each major current human population.” They found that allele frequencies that distinguish addicts of different ethnicities from the control supports the idea of a genetic architecture for addiction vulnerability. They also conclude that finding variance in genes that are indicative of addiction that are likely to alter the quality of brain connections provides steps in creating a new neurobiology for finding the causes of diseases and phenotypes. The genes that have identified in this study contribute to the body of data that implicate cell-adhesion, related memory-like and other processes in addiction. They found that substantial evidence exists for generalizing the genetic results from addiction. They found this because there is an overlap between many disorders and addiction on the molecular genetics level. Bipolar disorder is one of many probably diagnoses where the genetics overlap with addiction and because of “addiction-bipolar disorder comorbidity”. But other disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia and depression are less likely to overlap with addiction.
They also looked at the frontal lobe volume, cognitive function and Alzheimer’s (AD=Alzheimer’s disease) to see if these genetic influences affect addiction. They found that smaller frontal lobe volume shared a strong genetic relation. They also found that people with smaller heads and therefore smaller brain sizes who go onto develop AD decades later. They also found that lower levels of education achieved which implies lower level of cognitive function in people who would develop AD later. Another finding was the genetics also dictate how vulnerable you are to addiction and overcoming addiction through certain methods. They found that certain SNPs favor success in quitting smoking with a response to bupropion and other SNPs found success in replacing nicotine. This means that addiction therapies can specifically target the individual’s preferred method of therapy. This article ends with the authors predicting that people will find more gene variants that are responsible for individual differences in vulnerability for addiction and hopes that in the future we will find all of them.

Uhl, G. R., Drgon, T., Johnson, C., Li, C., Contoreggi, C., Hess, J., … Liu, Q. (2008). Molecular genetics of addiction and related heritable phenotypes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1141(1), 318-381. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1441.018

How scientists are studying genetics to try to track down the 'addiction' gene.

Non drug addictions

Not all addictions are addictions for drugs. Many are behavioral addictions such as internet addiction, food addiction, and gambling. These behavioral addictions are compulsive activities that include shopping, eating, exercising, and sex. These addictions have similar symptoms and this suggest that “plasticity may be occurring in brain regions associated with drug addiction. This article has found from the evidence that natural rewards are just as capable of producing plasticity in addiction related circuitry as much as drugs. Many of these behaviours include “eating, shopping, gambling, playing video games and spending time on the internet that can develop into compulsive behaviours with devastating consequences”. This means that many drug and non-drug addictions are related and the treatments for one can be applied to the other.

Olsen, C. M. (2011). Natural rewards, neuroplasticity, and non-drug addictions. Neuropharmacology, 61(7), 1109-1122. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.03.010

Can willpower help overcome addiction?

American Psychological Association. (2014). What you need to know about willpower: The psychological science of self control. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

Synonyms for willpower can be:” determination, drive, resolve, self-discipline, self-control. But psychologists characterize willpower, or self-control, in more specific ways. According to most psychological scientists, willpower can be defined as:
• the ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals
• the capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling or impulse
• the ability to employ a “cool” cognitive system of behavior rather than a “hot” emotional system
• conscious, effortful regulation of the self by the self
• a limited resource capable of being depleted”
Will power can be formed from many different constructs in basic social environments. Sources of will power can be found as anything that helps build toward the definition of will power provided above. Examples of constructs that support willpower are; religion, community membership, political involvement, a career, and family status. All of these things contribute to developing a contextual agency and can also define a person’s being. These examples provide moral backlash for giving into addiction and your reputation for addictive characteristics invokes personal backlash. For example religion builds constructs to avoid selfish behavior and set a God before all other matters in life. A religious person could not simply allow addiction to replace their relationship with their God. The presence of higher moral objectives within an individual’s cognitive scope can guide their perception away from unwanted stimuli in their environment. The ability to operate in such a manner will allow an individual to override unwanted impulses and regulate the self by the self.

Bechara, A. (2005). Decision making, impulse control and loss of willpower to resist drugs: A neurocognitive perspective. Nature Neuroscience 8, 1458-1463.b Doi: 10.1038/nnl1584

This article was given 3 grants by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the author claims no competing financial interests. The main argument in this article is about the combination of the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. The amygdala is the impulsive side, where it takes in pain and pleasure prospects and makes immediate decisions. The VMPC on the other hand is the reflective unit which takes in pain and pleasure prospects and makes future decisions. These two things combined are what willpower is made of. The author claims that when you are first deciding to do a drug or try a substance, you have to make that decision in the first place to try it. Some people have a strong decision making system and do not become addicted, others have a weaker system balance and are more vulnerable. The weak decision makers are more vulnerable because the process that causes one to say ‘no’ to actions that the impulsive system says yes to is not functioning properly, or as the author put it is dysfunctional. The author talks about how to somatic marker hypothesis helps you make long term choices rather than short term ones to regulate your homeostasis and avoid addiction. Drugs however stimulate your impulsiveness and cause higher intensity signals causing your somatic marker hypothesis to be overridden. The research took place at the University of Southern California. The article itself is intended for anyone with a basic knowledge of science and psychology and is fairly easy to read due to the in detail breakdown of complex ideas with a detailed diagram. Through this article you can learn a lot about the brains different functions and its’ effects on addiction and willpower. Willpower does have an effect on whether someone becomes addicted or not, but it can be altered by environmental and genetic factors.

Does personality play a role?

In this study kids at 11 years old were had a behavioral assessment done and a detailed interview with their teachers were done. Later when they were 27 years old a reassessment was done to check the for alcoholism abuse. This study’s intentions were to find any kind of heritable personality traits that could affect alcoholism. It was found that 3 traits were most important in predicting alcoholism which were
1. novelty seeking
2. harm avoidance
3. reward dependence
With the first 2 being the more predictive of future alcoholism dependence. The study looked at 2 times of alcoholism. Type 1 being associated with “with loss of control, guilt, and fear about dependence on alcohol with onset developing after heavy drinking that is reinforced by external circumstances, usually in late adulthood” This type of alcoholism is assisted with higher reward dependence and hard avoidance personality traits.
and Type 2 being associated with “early onset of alcohol-seeking behavior regardless of external circumstances, and is associated with frequent impulsive-aggressive behavior, such as fighting or reckless driving after drinking” This type of alcoholism is associated with a high novelty seeking personality trait.

Cloninger, C. R., Sigvardsson, S., & Bohman, M. (1988). Childhood personality predicts alcohol abuse in young adults.Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 12(4), 494-505. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/617554012?accountid=15182

How tolerance, withdrawal and anticipation are related

When a person stops doing drugs that have withdrawal symptoms and they may often have a response in the presence of cues that are associated to the drug in the past. An example is the setting where the drug was taken. This article has found that these cues create conditional responses that “contribute to tolerance and withdrawal”. It was found that treated addicts experience drug-withdrawal symptoms and cravings when the user was put in a situation that they have paired to their drug use. It was also found that a drug user has a higher tolerance to the drugs when they administer the dose rather than when the experimenter administers the dose. This shows that how the person takes in the drugs is a factor on their tolerance.

Siegel, S. (2005). Drug tolerance, drug addiction, and drug anticipation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(6), 296-300. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00384.x

When Willpower Is Lacking

In the past being addicted to drugs and alcohol was considered to be a lack of willpower and those who could not overcome their chemical dependency were assumed to be weak in moral character and sheer willpower. But since then the study on addiction has gradually evolved and is now recognized as an illness of the mind and body.

Although addiction is not caused by a lack of willpower, It may seem as if willpower is the ultimate determinant in recovery from addiction, but this is based on confusion about what it actually means to be abstinence and reject chemical dependency.
The compulsive aspect of the disease of addiction is powerful and recovering addicts learn effective coping strategies in therapy and in group settings that helps them enormously as they try to overcome addiction. However, those strategies don’t emphasize resistance as much as they stress the necessity for the addict to change his life on a day-to-day basis, but when recovering substance abusers are able to focus on the need to rebuild their lives from the ground up, they can find the motivation they need to resist the urges that could send them tumbling back into drugs or alcohol.

Willpower, far from being an asset in an addict’s recovery, can actually be a hindrance because it teaches the addict to concentrate his mental energies exclusively on the source of his troubles. Simply deciding to make each day a good day, and following through on that promise quietly but consistently, is the secret to making great life changes, and that includes overcoming the powerful debilitating effects of a disease like drug addiction or alcoholism.

The difference between trying to will your way to sobriety and making a cooperative efforts to recover from addiction with the help of trained counselors, peers in support groups, family members and friends is that only those who understand the value of letting go of the struggle and accepting responsibility for their lives and the choices they make avoiding the people, places and things that trigger your desire to use drugs will be able to develop an effective approach for overcoming addiction, and they are the ones who will perform the small miracles of healing that can transform tragedy into victory.

Freud's Psychoanalytic view of Substance abuse

sigmund-freud-med.jpg

Psychoanalytic view of substance abuse is that it is a defense against anxiety. According to Freud, the originator of psychoanalytic theory, personality consists of three components: the ID, the Superego, and the Ego. One contemporary psychoanalytic view of substance abuse is that it is a defense against anxiety

The ID is instinctive, impulsive, and childlike. It wants immediate satisfaction of needs, urges, and cravings. It is the moral component of the personality. The Superego is sometimes thought of as the parent or conscience it knows "right" from "wrong" and its function is to control the impulses of the ID. Finally, the Ego is similar to the adult and it makes peace with the ID and Superego.

In the case of the alcoholic, the id craves alcohol. Anxiety signals a threat but it can overwhelm the ego. When anxiety is overwhelming, a person relies on defense mechanisms such as denial, avoidance, rationalization, regression, projection, etc.. Denial, especially, is common among substance abusers who frequently deny having a problem.

A common acronym in addiction circles is H-A-L-T, meaning Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These are emotions leading to vulnerability and subsequent substance abuse. Unfortunately, when alcohol/smoking is used to avoid anxiety evoking situations, the abuser never grows up. He/she never develops appropriate coping mechanisms. Instead, they just grab the bottle/cig.

For example, "the solitary drinker who stays in bed all day watching TV avoids going for a job interview, making friends, and learning how to deal with rejection. The alcohol is used to dampen anxiety and avoid threatening situations"

Are Some People More Prone to Addiction Then Others.. Conclusion?

According to our findings addiction is a disease that causes permanent changes in the brain, such as cravings for the substance of choice and withdrawals when the addict attempts to quit. Not every person who drinks or does drugs becomes addicted; research has found that there are certain factors that make some people more prone to addiction than others. These factors can affect people of all ages and socioeconomic levels, no matter their gender. Risk for addiction is influenced by a person’s biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following three risk factors are most important:

Biology - The genes that people are born with––in combination with environmental influences––account for about half of their addiction vulnerability. Additionally, gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may influence risk for drug abuse and addiction.

Environment - A person’s environment includes many different influences––from family and friends to socioeconomic status and quality of life in general. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and parental involvement can greatly influence the course of drug abuse and addiction in a person’s life.

Development – Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction vulnerability, and adolescents experience a double challenge. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it is to progress to more serious abuse. And because adolescents’ brains are still developing in the areas that govern decision making, judgment, and self-control, they are especially prone to risk-taking behaviors, including trying drugs of abuse.

These three factors seem to be the most similar within all our findings which contribute to answering the question are people more prone to addiction then others no once can really say for sure and scientist really have yet to catch a grasp on why human being addicted all we know is that psychotherapy seems to work , willpower also plays a role because if a person is unwilling to give up there addiction be it what it may be he will never quit it, but with the help of friends, family and professionals they can get their life in control again.

Not to mention that genetics is another factor to a person being addicted geneticists believe that the reason some people try cigarettes and do not become smokers, while others do so very quickly is probably linked to the type of genes we inherit from our parents. Some people can smoke once in a while, throughout their lives, and never seem to become addicted, while others are unable to stop smoking without experiencing the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. It is most likely that the way the receptors on the surface of our brain nerve cells respond to nicotine is influenced by our genes.

Also Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic view of substance abuse and how it is a defense against anxiety, Addicts abuse alcohol or other substances to protect themselves against overwhelming anxiety and other painful emotions such as loneliness and depression. There are a lot of factors that determine one to be an addict or not and our research is just but one aspect on solving what addiction really is and how people can overcome it.

Word definitions

Addiction
- is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control. Withdrawal has many meanings, one of which is A psychological and/or physical syndrome caused by the abrupt cessation of the use of a drug in an habituated person.
Substance dependence
- is When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. This, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders..
Habit
- it is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction.
Behavioral addiction
- Behavioral or behavioural addiction, also referred to as soft addiction, process addiction, or non-substance-related addiction, is a form of addiction not caused by the usage of drugs.
Psychoanalysis
- The treatment of mental disorders and allied problems by psychological methods
Genetics
- the study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics
Tolerance
- the ability or willingness to tolerate something.
What is a neurotransmitter
- it is a chemical that a nerve cell releases, which thereby transmits an (electric) impulse from one nerve cell to another nerve cell, organ, muscle, or other tissue. Put simply, a neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurologic data from one cell to another cell.
A symptom
- is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, sleepiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.
Dopamine
- a neurochemical critical to stimulating feelings of pleasure and to motivating behavior
Epigenetic changes
Epigenetics literally means "above" or "on top of" genetics. It refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes "on" or "off." These modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells "read" genes.
Anxiety
is a driving force in psychoanalytic theory;a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

References

Colman, A. (2008). A dictionary of psychology . (3 ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/view/10.1093/acref/9780199534067.001.0001/acref-9780199534067

"Addiction Recovery | Is Willpower Alone Enough to Overcome Addiction?" Addiction Treatment Magazine. Addiction Treatment in Recovery, 10 June 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.addictiontreatmentmagazine.com/recovery/addiction-recovery-is-willpower-alone-enough-to-overcome-addiction/

"An Agnostic Approach to 12-Steps." Addiction Treatment Magazine. Addiction Treatment in 12 Step Program, 07 Nov. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.addictiontreatmentmagazine.com/addiction-treatment/12-step-programs/agnostic-12-steps/

Nordqvist, Christian. "All About Addiction." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, Mar. 2009. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/addiction/

Sack, David, M.D. "Where Science Meets the Steps." Web log post. Does Willpower Play a Role in Addiction Recovery? Psychology Today, 07 Nov. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201211/does-willpower-play-role-in-addiction-recovery

Gumbiner, Jann. "The Teenage Mind." What Causes Addiction? Psychology Today, 12 Jan. 2010. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201001/what-causes-addiction

American Psychological Association. (2014). What you need to know about willpower: The psychological science of self control. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

Bechara, A. (2005). Decision making, impulse control and loss of willpower to resist drugs: A neurocognitive perspective. Nature Neuroscience 8, 1458-1463.b Doi: 10.1038/nnl1584

"Why Do Some People Become Addicted and Others Never Do?" CA Drug Treatment Programs. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

"No Regret: The Addiction Treatment Homepage." Are All People Evenly Prone to Get Addicted? -. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

Volkow, Nora M.D. "The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology." The Brain—The Essence of Drug Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

"National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)." National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

"Addictions: The Most Common Addictions Introduced| Addictio.info." Addiction Info Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

Siegel, S. (2005). Drug tolerance, drug addiction, and drug anticipation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(6), 296-300. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00384.x

Olsen, C. M. (2011). Natural rewards, neuroplasticity, and non-drug addictions. Neuropharmacology, 61(7), 1109-1122. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.03.010

Uhl, G. R., Drgon, T., Johnson, C., Li, C., Contoreggi, C., Hess, J., … Liu, Q. (2008). Molecular genetics of addiction and related heritable phenotypes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1141(1), 318-381. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1441.018

Hall, W. D., Gartner, C. E., & Carter, A. (2008). The genetics of nicotine addiction liability : Ethical and social policy implications. Addiction (Abingdon.Print), 103(3), 350-359. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/62050475?accountid=15182

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License