Drug dependency is a highly prevalent mental health disorder that imposes a significant burden on those directly affected, health care systems, and society in general. There is substantial heritability in the susceptibility to drug addiction, which indicates that there are genetic risk factors. Variation in the human genome is abundant and can directly affect drug dependency phenotypes, for example, by altering the function of a gene product or by altering gene expression. Pharmacogenetic studies can assess the effects of genetic variation on the risk for a particular phenotype (e.g., being an alcoholic). In addition, pharmacogenetic variability in treatment efficacy and adverse reactions can be investigated to identify particular genetic variants associated with altered responses. This review highlights examples of genetic variations that are important in the development and maintenance of specific drug dependencies as well as those that affect the response to treatment.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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