How Genetics Factors into Addiction and Mental Illness

At A Mission for Michael, we specialize in helping our patients deal with the ways that addiction and mental illness work off of each other to make a bad situation worse. This type of phenomenon is referred to as dual diagnosis. While every person has a personal story of how a dual diagnosis rose up in their life that is unique to them, there are common threads of how dual diagnosis can occur. One important factor that we consider is the genetics of a patient. Both mental illness and addiction can be genetically inclined disorders, which is another way that they connect…

Many types of mental disorders are genetically inclined

From bipolar disorder to clinical depression, there is a large variety of different mental disorders that can be passed down from generation to generation. Studies show that children of people who suffer from bipolar disorder are at a far higher risk of developing bipolar disorder at some point in their life. These same patterns are also prevalent in schizophrenia.

Children of addicts are at a higher risk of addiction

There are many different genes that can influence whether or not a person develops addiction at some point in their lives, but it can be hard to spot these genetic implications, due to the complexity of how addiction crops up in a person’s life. For example, there are genes that affect whether or not a person displays more risk-taking behavior, which can, in turn, lead to a personality that is more inclined towards addictive behavior. Despite this fact, environmental factors are far more likely to indicate whether or not a person will develop addiction at some point in their life.

Both mental illness and addiction can feed the other

Whether or not a person has a genetic inclination towards addiction or mental illness, the genes that increase the risk of one will still increase the risk of the other, due to the fact that addiction places a person more at risk of developing a mental disorder, and mental illness does the same thing for addiction. Because of the intricate link between the two, the genetic factors of one will always feed the other, at least in terms of risk.