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Genetic Mutations May Lead to Risky Behaviors

Many studies are concluding that human behaviors can be mapped out by taking a closer look at our genes.  These studies are getting closer to finding reasons why people simply “do what they do.” Risky behaviors may be linked to genetic mutations in the brain, specifically dopamine levels.  Someone who has these genetic mutations may be considered a risk-taker.  Does this make them an addict?  Not necessarily.  They could also be bungee jumpers, stunt performers or perhaps someone who enjoys high-stakes poker.  On the other hand, someone with these genes may find it suitable to be a librarian or a other low risk occupation, it is too early to tell.  But, the studies are showing that those who have these genes may also be more interested in experimenting with mind-altering drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine and prescription pain pills.  All of these activities trigger the brain’s reward system.  People with these traits are more likely to enjoy the feeling that these drugs can impart and will continue to want to feel that way.  Addiction can take many forms, but once it becomes something you cannot live without….the problem has begun.

Dopamine is the key element in these studies.  One study based at the University of Minnesota took a look at hundreds of people, focusing on sensation seeking behaviors (addictions).  There is no way at this time to screen people at an early age to determine if they will be at risk for addiction, but links have been found and will continued to be studied.  These breakthroughs in addiction research could help an addiction treatment center to better tailor a drug treatment plan to meet each specific patient’s needs.  Perhaps once the genes that cause addiction have been identified, they can be eliminated somehow, in the future.

Realistically, the numbers for relapse could drop dramatically.  All of this is good news for the war on drugs and alcohol, but it will be quite some time before more information on the genetic ties to dopamine and thrill-seeking behaviors will be more concrete.  Until then, drug treatment continues to evolve in ways that are helping people overcome their addictions.  Can an addiction treatment center provide the help for addiction in the meantime?  Yes.  While no drug treatment facility is the same, the person needs to research potential treatment providers to make sure they cater to a person’s needs regarding their specific addiction.  Some may boast a jack of all trades ability to deal with any addiction.  This is perfectly fine, just as a center that focuses on one specific drug is also acceptable.  Ideally, any rehab center is better than none, but someone interested in utilizing the service of a drug treatment center should do their homework.  Multiple treatment options and extended care/outpatient services are very important and research shows that ongoing treatment and support assist with long-term sobriety.

Whether it is a genetic mutation or an environmentally-learned behavior, one thing remains certain: an addiction treatment center can implement a program that will help a person battle their addiction.  Removing one’s self from the risk-taking environment and placing themselves in the care of experts at a residential addiction treatment center is the next step towards sobriety.  Working through the primary residential treatment program is the first step.  Depending on the individual situation, extended care may be advised to assist in the transition back to sober daily living.  Once an individual returns to their home environment, everyday life will be different than it was prior to treatment.  It is never an easy journey to change one’s life.  Once again, the need for continuing care once treatment at the facility has been completed is incredibly important.  If the drug treatment program you are looking into does not provide the resources for continuing care options, continue your search to find one that does.  What if you believe that outpatient therapy is all you need?  Before you make a decision, talk to an addiction treatment center counselor and reach an educated decision that best suits your needs or that of a loved one.

Vista Taos Addiction Treatment Center in New Mexico treats addiction and co-occurring disorders while stressing the importance of continued care once the program has finished.  The belief that addiction is a choice is gradually being proven as an invalid theory as evidenced by scientific facts.  Addiction is a disease; it is a medical condition that requires specialized care by licensed and experienced professionals who know the best methods to treat addiction through counseling combined with adjunctive therapies such as massage, yoga, acupuncture and even meditation to help ease the aching, nagging symptoms associated with withdrawal.  These are the drug treatment centers you need to seek out.  These programs will give you results.  Addiction is becoming an epidemic, with numbers rising all over the United States.  Meth labs are being raided consistently in cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The risk-taking behaviors associated with drug addiction unfortunately comes with a price, but the ending does not have to be the same for every person. Find hope by seeking drug treatment.

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COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos is our top priority. Each person admitted to our program will be given a PCR Covid screen upon entry and subsequently will follow our isolation protocol as we await the results.
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