The genetic component of addiction (including alcoholism) is certainly not the entire answer, since it fails to consider, for example, the effects of living with an alcoholic parent or parents, and the other stresses that can lead to a desire to turn one’s brain off.
Nonetheless, it is good to know that more and more eminent experts are speaking to the essential lack of choice attendant to addiction. I’m getting tired of moralists who know nothing about the disease talking about how all you need is (insert metaphysical entity of your choice) to stay straight. Actually, I got tired of it about 18 years ago.
Professor Wim van den Brink, from the Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and a leading expert in the field of addiction, told the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists today (Friday 4 July) that addicts have fewer dopamine or pleasure receptors in the brain and consequently seek out more and more stimulation.
“Addicts find it difficult to receive pleasure,” said Prof van den Brink. “They are not likely to enjoy most of the ordinary things most of us enjoy, experiences such as a day at the beach or night at a club. They are looking for more and more stimulus.”
However, Professor van den Brink stated that a person’s genetic vulnerability to addiction does not automatically translated into real alcohol and drug disease – there are also environmental influences. …