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 spiritual 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.
Citation: Blum K, Thompson B, Oscar-Berman M, Giordano J, Braverman E, et al. (2013) Genospirituality: Our Beliefs, Our Genomes, and Addictions. J Addict Res Ther 4:162. doi: 10.4172/2155-6105.1000162