Dr. Stanton Peele's extensive research concludes that there is no evidence that biological or genetic mechanisms have been identified for addictive behavior or that addictive behavior is therefore inherited. The inherited addiction gene theory is widely used by the majority of alcohol and drug rehab programs, but Peele's research reveals that addiction is just too complicated to be contained within a simple inherited gene.
Throughout Peele's research, he relates the habitual behavior of smoking to an alcohol addiction. "How could an addiction like smoking be genetic? Does believing that an addiction like smoking is genetic help the person quit; are all those smokers who quit not genetically addicted?"
Peele adds another point of comparison to challenge the genetic theory referencing the rock band Aerosmith, all of which at one point consumed alcohol and drugs and then simultaneously attended AA recovery programs. "How unlikely a coincidence it is that five unrelated people with the addictive inheritance should run into one another and form a band?"
Mark Scheeren, Chairman of Saint Jude Retreats adds, "Addiction is simply a series of habitual behaviors which can be changed. Substance use boils down to a thought which is the conscious decision to drink and/or drug. There is no gene of addiction, unlike rehabilitation programs would like you to believe."
Peele's argument explains that there will always be a multitude of reasons why people choose to drink, and these factors are varied by circumstances and environment, not by genetics or neurochemistry in the brain.
Peele states, "People are blinded by genetic theories, so that they can't take in the facts all around them. Becoming — and remaining — addicted has a lot more to do with the groups people come from and associate with, and from their beliefs and expectations about substances (or other activities), than from their biological makeup."
Pleasurable activities can include more than substance use, such as activities that people repeat, in which case everything and anything can be "addictive," even walking and driving a car.
Scheeren adds, "The question comes down to what addictions are we going to choose?"
SOURCE Saint Jude Retreats