Easy Does It Easily –
January 2020 – It is now well known that the repetition of rewarding behaviors produces changes in brain function and structure that facilitate habits and, for some, sustained compulsivity and addiction. Like other complex illnesses and disorders, addiction is multifactorial, resulting from a combination of genetic, social, psychological, and environmental forces.
Genetics plays an important role in conferring vulnerability to addiction. Genetic factors influence how substances are metabolized and experienced. Such biological differences can influence whether substance use continues and increases, remains “social” and occasional, or does not occur at all. In the early stages, however, those more genetically vulnerable to addiction are unaware of the risky path they are on; their experience is merely of a memorable and highly desirable new discovery.