Motivation- Post 1- "It's not my fault, it's my parents!"

Genetic predisposition is defined in the lecture slides as "genetically related individuals [who] are similarly vulnerable to drug experimentation and addiction". In fact, many people claim that their addictions to various drugs, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine, can be blamed on their genetics. According to, genetics only contributes half to addiction, while failure to cope is the other half. Also, children of parents who are addicted are eights times more likely to be addicts themselves.

Also, it has been theorized that humans are hardwired for addiction, as it serves as an evolutionary advantage. We are made to pay special attention to salience, or special relevance. Drugs have the ability to take advantage of this "special programming" by heightening our decision making skills, conditioning, memory, thus sending the aforementioned salience into high gear. This, my friends, is what causes the craving. And although some people are more susceptible to addiction, if anyone is exposed to an addictive substance for too long, genes won't matter anymore. At that point, the other side of addiction, failure to cope, is to blame.



  1. I have to agree that genetics have a lot to do with addiction. My family tens to enjoy life to the fullest and therefore a lot of drinking, smoking, and gambling goes on in our lives. The interesting is I wouldn’t say any of us are addicts. My grandparents are 76 and 72 and they have been drinking alcoholic beverages (sometimes in excess) everyday for the better part of their lives. A few years ago my grandma decided that she and my grandfather were fat and they both cut out alcohol from their diet. Neither suffered withdrawal like side effects and neither seem to care they cant have it anymore. On the other side of my gene pool is my mother. She smoked everyday for 5 years. When she found out she was pregnant she stopped and never looked back. I can also say that I have never found myself to be addicted to anything. Genes are pretty cool!

    I would like to add to your craving explanation. You credit cravings to special relevance. In chapter five of our book, the compensatory response model suggests that the withdrawal symptoms may not be the body withdrawing but instead, may be the body preparing for the addictive stimulus. The book gives the example of a person on heroin. The body recognizes places, such as the bathroom, as a cue that heroin is about to be injected into it. The body then prepares for the heroin by lowering its blood pressure to cope (since heroin causes an increase in blood pressure). So when a person who is trying not to do heroin, enters a place they normal do it, the body prepares for the drugs, which can sometimes feel like withdrawal.

  2. I remember when I was younger my friends and I would have technically considered alcoholics. We could drink all night long. I have to agree with the previous comment, I believe that the body prepares itself in certain cues. I can not even attempt to drink as much as I used too, but not for any other reason but I think my environment has changed and the cues are gone.

  3. I thought this post was very insightful. I have heard many times before that it is half genetic, half environmental contributers that create a person with an addictive personality, but I was pretty shocked when I read, "also, it has been theorized that humans are hardwired for addiction, as it serves as an evolutionary advantage." I had never really thought of addiction as evolutionary advantage; though it does make sense. Very interesting post!

  4. I do agree to this to an extent. I have seen families with parents with drug problems evolve into their children having drug problems themselves. Yet I have also seen families with parents who are alcoholics or addicted to drugs, the kids, see the damage and pain it causes, and never drink or do drugs a day in their life, so far. I do agree in these instances the children have someone in their life as a role model that doesn't have an addiction weather its the other parent or relative, or even a friends parent. I do agree genetics plays a important part, but I am also a firm believer that the child's environment around the addicted family member plays just as important of a role.


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