A link between siblings and self-control uncovered by researchers in Britain is drawing attention from addiction specialists at Burning Tree, a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilty in Texas. The research shows shared brain abnormalities among brothers and sisters even when one only of the pair is drug dependent. This new, evolving understanding of how different behavior can result despite common brain features can enhance Burning Tree’s mission to treat chronic alcohol and drug abuse and educate clients and family members about the benefits of an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Researchers at the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at Britain’s Cambridge University scanned the brains of 50 sibling pairs, one with a cocaine dependence and the other with no history of chronic substance abuse. These scans were then compared to scans of healthy individuals. While previous brain-scan studies have documented noteworthy differences in the brains of drug addicts, this research noted the siblings’ common abnormality in the part of the brain controlling behavior, suggesting that these brain differences could not only precede the onset of addiction but increase a susceptibility to addiction as well.

Although published in a peer-reviewed general-science journal, the findings hold value in a practical application manner too. The research provides a basis for beginning to assess how one sibling avoided or resisted dependence while the other sibling did not. The results also suggest another variable, beyond family history of drug abuse and occasional recreational use of drugs, that can influence the development of an addiction due to affected self-control abilities. That kind of information can assist in tailoring more effective treatment and relapse prevention plans.

As advocates of long-term treatment of drug and alcohol abuse, the addiction specialists at Burning Tree in Texas provide resources for individuals seeking treatment and their family members. Residential care is available at locations outside of Dallas and Austin for persons from all 48 contiguous states. An overview of services can be obtained online at www.burningtree.com or by phone at 866-287-2877.