Nature vs Nurture: What Makes an Oxycodone Addict?

Nature vs Nurture: What Makes an Oxycodone Addict?Which is a bigger factor in drug addiction – genetics or environment? The answer depends on the individual. Studies tend to put “heritability” estimates at 40% – 60%, which suggests that nature and nurture influence addiction and substance abuse equally. There is also considerable overlap between the two factors, as external stimuli are often responsible for triggering a genetic predisposition. Regardless of which factor makes a person more susceptible, taking a high-risk drug like oxycodone increases an individual’s chances of becoming addicted. This opiate-based narcotic is the active ingredient in popular pain relievers like OxyContin and Percocet, and it can quickly hook any user into a powerful addiction.

How Genetics Influence Substance Abuse

Genes, the functional units in human DNA, are contained in sequences that are nearly identical in everyone. It is within the tiny fraction of difference that genetic predisposition takes shape. This type of predisposition can influence an oxycodone user in the following ways:

  • A lower genetic threshold means a user can become addicted taking the same quantities as those who have yet to develop a problem
  • Addictive behaviors can occur even when taken for legitimate medical reasons as part of a pain management program
  • Genetic mental health factors can play a role since mood disorders also increase addiction risk

Nature makes certain people more inclined toward addiction, but there is some level of genetic risk in everyone, so no one is completely immune. Furthermore, a person might begin life with a lower risk factor, but increase their susceptibility through repeated substance abuse, which rewires the brain’s reward center.

The Role of the Environment in Drug Addiction

Even if one is not genetically predisposed to addiction, environmental factors can certainly contribute to his or her substance abuse problems. These nurture-related risk factors can include the following:

  • Learned drug-using behaviors through friends and family
  • Drug-centric social circles in which use offers a wider acceptance
  • Illicit use to self-medicate a pain, disorder or emotional problem
  • Thrill-seeking behaviors such as chasing a narcotic high
  • Childhood or spousal abuse and other traumatic memories
  • Divorce, rejection, loss and abandonment-related events

While a mental health issue is rooted in genetics, the disorder, as it manifests in an individual’s life, functions as an environmental factor. Depression, anxiety, mania, schizophrenia and other disorders can push an individual toward addictive drug use.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

When it comes to breaking an oxycodone addiction, drug rehabilitation facilities look at both genetic and environmental factors to determine the most effective means of treatment. Proper drug rehabilitation care generally includes the following:

  • A personalized recovery plan that takes into account the family’s addiction history
  • A tapered detox that minimizes the opiate withdrawal symptoms
  • Integrated treatment for mood disorders or mental health issues
  • Identify people, places and situations that encourage drug use
  • Behavioral therapies that improve lifestyle choices and habits
  • Techniques to resist and avoid drug-use triggers
  • Helping the family to create a recovery-friendly environment at home
  • Aftercare group therapy and one-on-one counseling to provide ongoing support

People continue to debate whether nature or nurture is the stronger force in behavioral patterns, but proper treatment looks at nature and nurture. The most effective care treats the whole person and addresses every addiction factor, whether big or small.

Do You Need Help Recovering from Painkiller Addiction?

If drug addiction has impacted your life, we are here 24 hours a day to help. Call our toll-free helpline to speak with an addiction counselor about warning signs, integrated treatment and drug rehabilitation facility options. We can also check health insurance policies for treatment benefits. It is not where you have been, but where you are going that really matters. Call today to start on the path towards recovery.