Epigenetics: Key Predictor and Protector in Substance Use Disorder

Genetics influence a person’s susceptibility to substance abuse disorder but understanding epigenetic factors may be key in fighting opioid dependence.

Researchers found that offspring of rats exposed to opioids were less likely to develop an opioid abuse disorder—their DNA apparently primed to be more resistant to opioid dependence. Understanding epigenetic changes following parents’ and grandparents’ exposure to opioids can be helpful in assessing genetic predisposition and can also be used in treatment alongside cognitive behavioral therapy—understanding that having “biology on their side” might help patients in recovery.

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