Why is it that some people try drugs or alcohol and never have a problem, some people use for years before then notice a problem and other seem to develop substance use problems almost after their first use? If we look at the steps in developing a substance use disorder, the person first must initiate substance use, then the shift from experimental use to regular, ongoing, problematic use, then meet multiple diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder.
Twin studies have allowed us to identify and evaluate the significant genetic components at play in this process. A genetic predisposition to a disease does not mean that an individual is destined to develop that disease. In fact, like most things in life, it’s much more complicated than that. For example, genetics account for 60% of the tendency to become addicted to nicotine, but even more interesting, genetics accounts for 75% of a person's inclination to begin smoking, and 54% of one's ability to quit.
This presentation will examine these various factors that influence the development, continuation, and cessation of substance use disorders.
As a result of this session:
- Attendees will be able to identify the criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders.
- Attendees will understand various genetic influences on substance use disorders.
- Attendees will be able to list 3 ways the environment impacts the development and continuation of substance use disorders.