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Are Some People Immune to Addiction?

If some people are more vulnerable to addiction because of genes or environment, it stands to reason that there might be people at the other end of the scale who are especially resistant to addiction. Do such people exist, and if so, what would they be like?

This is a complicated question and it would be hard to do more than scratch the surface here. First of all, addiction and dependence, although different, are closely related. This matters because no one is really immune from dependence. For example, if you take Xanax every day for six months, you will inevitably develop a dependence. This is because your brain will adjust to the chemicals you put into it every day, even if some brains adjust more slowly than others. If your brain does not rebalance your neurotransmitter levels, then you have a much bigger problem than addiction.

A similar logic applies to addiction itself, and not just dependence. Addiction is essentially a learned behavior. You take a drug and immediately relieve pain or feel euphoria and sooner or later your brain becomes conditioned to seek the drug. Again, if your brain doesn’t eventually make that connection, you have bigger problems than addiction.

In either of these processes though, there is probably some variation in how quickly you become dependent and how quickly you become addicted. If your brain chemistry is slow to rebalance, and your neurons are slow to rewire, especially in areas related to emotion, you might be unusually resistant to addiction.

Exceptions might exist for specific drugs. For example, if you are allergic to alcohol and aftershave makes you break out in hives, there is very little chance you’ll become an alcoholic. Alcohol addiction can be disrupted at several points, from liver function to dopamine response. It’s conceivable that some people may have similarly muted or adverse responses to other drugs as well, but it’s unlikely someone could have a blanket immunity to all addictions, as all drugs function in slightly different ways and not all addictive behavior is related to drugs.

On the environment side, growing up in a positive, supportive environment without abuse or trauma is probably the closest you can get to immunity. That means you have a loving, supportive family, several good friends, and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. Ideally, no one around you would use drugs, especially if there is a family history of addiction, and your parents would talk to you about drugs at an early age, as early as five or six. Of course, it’s impossible to control all of these factors, and even if you did, it wouldn’t guarantee an addiction free life, but it’s a good start.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.