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It has long been established that genetic factors along with environmental (e.g., psychosocial) factors are significant contributors to addiction vulnerability.
Epidemiological studies estimate that genetic factors account for 40–60% of the risk factors for alcoholism.
These studies rarely identify genes from proteins previously described via animal knockout models and candidate gene analysis.
Instead, large percentages of genes involved in processes such as cell adhesion are commonly identified.
The only behavioral addiction recognized by the DSM-5 and the ICD-10 is gambling addiction.
The term addiction is misused frequently to refer to other compulsive behaviors or disorders, particularly dependence, in news media.
Twins have similar and sometimes identical genetics.
Two decades of research into ΔFos B's role in addiction have demonstrated that addiction arises, and the associated compulsive behavior intensifies or attenuates, along with the overexpression of ΔFos B in the D1-type medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens.
The term behavioral addiction correctly refers to a compulsion to engage in a natural reward – which is a behavior that is inherently rewarding (i.e., desirable or appealing) – despite adverse consequences.
Preclinical evidence has demonstrated that marked increases in the expression of ΔFos B through repetitive and excessive exposure to a natural reward induces the same behavioral effects and neuroplasticity as occurs in a drug addiction.
On the other hand, the rare variant hypothesis states that genes with low frequencies in the population ( Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are a recently developed research method which are used to examine genetic associations with dependence, addiction, and drug use.
These studies employ an unbiased approach to finding genetic associations with specific phenotypes and give equal weight to all regions of DNA, including those with no ostensible relationship to drug metabolism or response.In support of this hypothesis, animal studies have shown that environmental factors such as stress can affect an animal's genotype.