Genetics are making their way into every facet of research nowadays, and addiction treatment is no slouch in that area.
What is pharmacogenomics?
If you haven’t heard of pharmacogenomics yet, you are sure to soon. The idea that medications affect individuals differently based on their unique genetic makeup has picked up a lot of steam in the last few years.
What can we expect?
Just as pharmacogenomics is said to greatly increase the usability of certain prescription drugs while reducing the worse side effects, so is the use of genetics in addiction treatment purported to bring more personalized, effective treatment to patients.
For instance, pharmacogenomics could inform us as to who is more likely to respond well to treatment using buprenorphine for craving reductions. It could possibly even tell us who would benefit more from specific behavioral interventions. Eventually, it may allow us to build a customized treatment program for addicts based on their genomic profile.
The importance of genetics!
And no one should underestimate the importance of genetics in addiction. In a recent congressional hearing, Dr. Nora Volkow, the head of the federal agency entrusted with advancing addiction research, NIDA, told congress that about 75% of a person’s inclination to begin smoking, 60% of one’s tendency to become addicted, and about 54% of a person’s ability to quit were genetically determined.
As we learn more about addiction treatment and the importance of specific genetic markers, I’m sure that individual addicts’ genes will play a pretty big role in what course of treatment people are given. Genetics might soon be the newest, most groundbreaking advancement in rehabs and recovery. But we’re not there yet so don’t let anyone fool you that they’ve figured out the formula for this!!!