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Years after con­quering his own drug problem, “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. is caught up in a new rehab drama; his 20-year-old son Indio is undergoing drug treatment.

Indio sought treatment after taking prescription pain medication, said his mother, Downey’s ex-wife, Deborah Falconer. “He was not addicted,” Falconer told The Enquirer. “He was taking one pill a day.” She confirmed that Indio, who is an accomplished musician, is in a “treatment facility” where he’s receiving “holistic, natural and orthomolecular” therapy.

However, Downey Jr. reportedly fears that his son is battling the same issues that he fought 20 years ago when he was in-and-out of drug rehabilitation facilities and jail.

Which makes you have to wonder? Is addiction in the genes? Robert Downey Jr. who is now described as the highest paid actor in the world once was dealing with his own drug addiction. Can addiction be passed down to our children? Are all the little quips and quirks about the apple not falling far from the tree and like father, like son, correct?

Let’s take a look at the science:

No one is born an addict. But it may be harder for people with specific addiction genes to quit once they start using and drinking. Or they may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit. Factors that make it harder to become addicted also may be genetic. For example, an individual may feel sick from a drug that makes other people feel good. Someone’s genetics does not doom them to a destiny of being a drug addict or alcohol but it does add to the risks of becoming one. But genetics are not the deciding fact. Environment also plays a huge role in someone becoming an addict.

There is no one single addiction gene. Susceptibility to addiction is the result of many interacting genes. Social and environmental factors contribute to this risk of addiction. It is becoming clearer and clearer to scientist that genetic factors weigh into this. Like other behavioral diseases, addiction vulnerability is a complex thing. Many factors determine the likelihood that someone will become addicted not just genes.

Here are some statistics on addiction and genetics:

  • The children of addicts are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction.
  • Addiction is due 50 percent to genetic predisposition and 50 percent to poor coping skills.

So was Robert Downey Jr.’s son doomed from the very beginning to end up following in his father’s footsteps? Not really. Because Robert Downey Jr. has been sober his son had the environment to thrive and not become addicted. The choice to start using drugs was his and his genetic predisposition to addiction probably made his drug use much different than if someone who wasn’t genetically predisposed. Unfortunately, while not everyone with alcoholic or addict parents, many of these people do end up with an addiction once they start drinking or take drugs for the first time. Many things play a factor in whether or not someone becomes an addict though and just looking at genes is like putting a microscope on one part of the issue.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, contact us today at 800-951-6135.


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