⒈ Addiction Interaction Disorders Paper
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The Science of Addiction and The Brain
Epigenetics is the study of functional, and sometimes inherited, changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that are not dependent on gene sequence. So, although each cell type in the human body effectively contains the same genetic information, epigenetic regulatory systems enable the development of different cell types e. These epigenetic marks can affect health and even the expression of the traits passed to children. For example, when a person uses cocaine, it can mark the DNA, increasing the production of proteins common in addiction. Increased levels of these altered proteins correspond with drug-seeking behaviors in animals. Histones , as another example, are like protein spools that provide an organizational structure for genes.
Genes coil around histones, tightening or loosening to control gene expression. Drug exposure can affect specific histones, modifying gene expression in localized brain regions. The development of multidimensional data sets that include and integrate genetic and epigenetic information provide unique insights into the molecular genetic processes underlying the causes and consequences of drug addiction. Studying and using these data types to identify biological factors involved in substance misuse is increasingly important because technologic advances have improved the ability of researchers to single out individual genes or brain processes that may inform new prevention and treatment interventions.
An international group of over scientists used a comprehensive database to collect information on smoking and alcohol use behaviors. They measured behaviors such as age when smoking was initiated, age when smoking cessation occurred, number of cigarettes per day, and drinks per week. The scientists then cross-checked those findings with life events like years of education ; physical characteristics like heart rate or cholesterol level ; and diseases suffered such as mental illnesses, or Type 2 diabetes. The investigators correlated those results with specific genes suspected in various types of substance use.
They found 12 that there were over locations in the genome and at least variants within these locations that influence smoking or alcohol use, bringing science closer to identifying clusters of genes that could play a part in addiction. The study even identified new genes and functions not expected to be important in addiction. Clinicians often find substantial variability in how individual patients respond to treatment. Part of that variability is due to genetics. Learning more about the genetic, epigenetic, and neurobiological bases of addiction will eventually advance the science of addiction. Scientists will be able to translate this knowledge into new treatments directed at specific targets in the brain or to treatment approaches—called pharmacogenomics.
This emerging science promises to harness the power of genomic information to improve treatments for addiction by tailoring the treatment to the person's specific genetic makeup. This is called precision medicine. By knowing a person's genomic information, health care providers will be better equipped to match patients with the most suitable treatments and medication dosages, and to avoid or minimize adverse reactions. The mission of the NIDA's Division of Neuroscience and Behavior DNB is to advance the science of drug use and addiction through basic and clinical biomedical neuroscience and behavioral research. The DNB's Genetics, Epigenetics, and Developmental Neuroscience Branch supports research on the genetics, epigenetics, and developmental mechanisms that underlie substance use, misuse, and addiction.
The DNB accomplishes its mission by developing and supporting an extramural research program that provides an understanding of the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of drugs of abuse and its consequences. This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Drug Topics. More Drug Topics. Quick Links. About NIDA. Genetics and Epigenetics of Addiction DrugFacts. Research Advance: Genes Involved in Addiction An international group of over scientists used a comprehensive database to collect information on smoking and alcohol use behaviors.
Changes in genes, known as mutations, cause diseases in people. Gene sequencing is an extremely powerful tool because it can find a connection between a known gene or genes and a disorder, and can identify genes that may have been overlooked or were previously unknown. A person's health is determined by their genes and the environment they live in. Those with a mental disorder may also be less inhibited and more likely to show risk-taking behavior — like buying and using illegal drugs or drinking to excess — that could quickly lead to alcohol or drug abuse. There are also other factors that could explain the frequent simultaneous occurrence of addiction and mental illness, including:. The answer is not entirely clear, but the connection works both ways.
People with alcohol and drug addictions tend to develop mental illnesses. People with certain mental illnesses tend to develop substance abuse problems. That number is even higher in those with certain mental conditions. A person must be substance-free for a period of at least two weeks in order to tease apart the various symptoms. Garbutt and Gilman both believe that treating an addiction and a mental illness at the same time is possible, and when you treat them together you can begin the process of unraveling the underlying causes of each.