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J Addict Res Ther. 2013 Oct 10;5(4). pii: 162.

Genospirituality: Our Beliefs, Our Genomes, and Addictions.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA ; Department of Clinical Research, LLC National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies Inc., North Miami Beach, FL, USA ; Department of Clinical Neurology, PATH Foundation NY, New York, NY, USA ; Institute of Integrative Omics & Applied Biotechnology, Nonakuri, Purba Medinipur, West Bengal, India ; Department of Addiction Research & Therapy, Malibu Beach Recovery Center, Malibu Beach, CA, USA ; Dominion Diagnostics, LLC, North Kingstown, RI, USA ; Department of Genomics, IGENE, LLC, Austin, TX, USA.
2
Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D. Program, Boston University School of Medicine, and Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Departments of Psychiatry and Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, and Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Clinical Research, LLC National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies Inc., North Miami Beach, FL, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA ; Department of Clinical Neurology, PATH Foundation NY, New York, NY, USA.
6
Department of Clinical Medicine, Meadowsedge Recovery Center, North Kingstown, RI, USA.
7
Institute of Integrative Omics & Applied Biotechnology, Nonakuri, Purba Medinipur, West Bengal, India.
8
Department of Genomics, IGENE, LLC, Austin, TX, USA.
9
Department of Psychiatry, Human Integrated Services Unit University of Vermont Center for Clinical & Translational Science, College of Medicine, Burlington, VT, USA.
10
Department of Clinical Research, LLC National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies Inc., North Miami Beach, FL, USA ; Department of Sociology, California State University, Turlock, CA, USA.

Abstract

Addictions to smoking, alcohol, illicit drugs, and certain behaviors like gambling, overeating, and sex, are prevalent worldwide. These behaviors are highly destructive and costly to individuals and society due to health consequences, criminality and lost productivity. The genetic vulnerability, environmental exposures, and individual behaviors that contribute to the brain dysfunction and compulsive tendencies that mark addiction make it one of the most complicated diseases to study and treat. Although much has been learned about the genetic basis of and biochemical imbalances associated with the addictions, research leading to effective treatments has been slow. Addictions are often accompanied by an inner sense of disintegration, enslavement and meaninglessness that can be viewed in terms of a spiritual craving for wholeness, freedom, and transformation. Arguably, progress towards effective treatment has been retarded by insufficient attention being paid to understanding the role of spirituality in helping to heal addicts. Assuming one accepts the belief that the brain mediates all conscious and unconscious experiences- including spiritually experiences -healing, like addictions, can be related to the processes by which the human brain is organized for controlling pleasure and pain. Here we hypothesize that a healthy spirituality may come more naturally to some individuals because of the unique interaction of their genes and their environments, and we review the evidence in support of this view.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction recovery; Dopaminergic; Genes; Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS); Reward dependence; Spirituality; Twelve steps

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