The factors linked with development of addiction in adolescence are intensively examined as this stage of life can be apparently related to considerable addiction risk. Experts now claim that teenagers carrying variants in two gene regions were three times more inclined to become habitual smokers in adolescence and twice as likely to be persistent smokers in adulthood, compared to non-carriers.
Investigators share that traits connected to adolescence addiction risk comprise of pleasure-seeking, behavioral disinhibition and devaluation of the potential negative consequences of behavior. On the other hand, the growth of substance use among adults is seemingly related with high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
“These findings seem to make some sense. The dopamine-related genes may be more closely associated with the risk for addiction within the context of thrill-seeking, while cholinergic receptors, which have been implicated in mood and cognition as well as addiction, might contribute to self-medication models of addiction,” remarked Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.
Experts underlined that deviation in a set of dopamine-related genes was linked with an individual’s risk to start smoking. Further, these genes supposedly had a greater effect on instigation of smoking in adolescents than adults. The study discovered that individuals with the risk variants had a 1.3-fold augmented risk to initiate smoking in their teenage years.
The other set of genes hinted for subunits of the nicotinic cholinergic receptors, the brain targets for nicotine inhaled during smoking. The changes in these genes may affect the likelihood of smokers continuing the habit into adulthood. This is allegedly due to the stronger influence on the smoking habits of adults as compared to adolescents. People with these variants seem to have a 1.3-fold leveraged threat of turning into an extreme and constant smoker later on.
Experts also revealed that the findings can assist in the formation of genetic testing for individuals who are keen on knowing their receptiveness to nicotine reliance and tobacco-related disease. Further, it may indicate the significance of targeted drugs that influence an individual’s reaction to nicotine. Besides, additional analysis is essential before these conclusions are executed.
The study was published in Biological Psychiatry.