About Wired for Addiction™
Wired for Addiction™ is an exciting new DNA analysis company which aims to give treatment centers the information they need to provide targeted evidence-based Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for addiction.
Wired for Addiction™ was co-founded in 2021 by an addiction expert with 28+ years of experience and a former Congressional staffer to the architect of the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013. Their team comprises of addiction physicians, expert PhD scientists, and government affairs specialists who focus on addiction treatment.
The founders of Wired for Addiction™ have a vision for how genetic testing can change the landscape of addiction treatment and rehabilitation. Their state-of-the-art trademarked DNA test reveals the precise genetic traits associated with substance use disorders. This allows treatment centers to provide evidence-based Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for addiction and gives their addiction professionals a better understanding of the cause of, and best treatment for, substance use disorders.
Wired for Addiction™ also provides services for attorneys to better represent their clients needs in court, by identifying cases where society would benefit more from the individual undergoing medical treatment than being sentenced to incarceration.
Genes are small sections of a person’s DNA which contain the “instructions” for how to make certain proteins within your cells. We’re not talking about the protein that bodybuilders obsess over, but the multitude of proteins within your cells which perform all the functions your body requires to stay healthy.
As humans we have around 20,000 genes, which make us what we are. From person-to-person some parts of our genes can differ. These are known as “genetic variants”. It is these genetic variants which make us different, the reason you have brown eyes while your friend has blue, or why some of us are at a higher risk of health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
We inherit our genes from our parents, so genetic “traits” – physical and psychological characteristics determined by your genes – can be passed down through generations, as can genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.
Our understanding of genetics has grown exponentially since the completion of the Human Genome Project, the first mapping and sequencing of all the genes of the human genome, back in 2003. Not only are we now able to sequence an individual’s genes significantly faster, but we know much more about how a person’s genes affect their characteristics, behavior, and health risks.
Genetics and Addiction
Distinguishing between nature and nurture as the cause of substance use disorders has always been incredibly complex. When a person grows up with parents who use addictive substances, they are more likely to go on to develop a substance use disorder themselves. The question is whether they became dependent on substances because they learned from those behaviors, or whether it’s because they inherited the genetic traits linked to addiction.
In 2014 we discovered the first group of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs – a common form of genetic variant) that are associated with addiction. Since this discovery, researchers have found hundreds of genetic variants linked to substance use disorders.
Testing for these genetic variants is useful to addiction professionals as it helps to determine what has caused a person’s substance use disorder. If an individual suffering from addiction is found to have a genetic variant linked to addiction, methylation defects, mood disorders, psychosocial conditions, or inflammation, their addiction professional can use this information to choose the best intervention to treat that individual’s substance use disorder.
Modern DNA analysis can also measure levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals which control how the brain acts) to determine whether someone needs additional support for their neurotransmitters in the form of medication. An imbalance in neurotransmitters is known to cause mental health disorders and is linked to addiction, so this information can help in addiction recovery.
Treatment with Precision
Addiction medicine is guided by scientific evidence to determine which treatments work best for which conditions, and which have the least harmful side effects. Many addiction rehabilitation centers provide evidence-based Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for those suffering from substance use disorders, however the evidence used generally looks at large segments of the population.
Guidelines which recommend one form of treatment over another are usually based on studies which tell us which intervention (medication, therapy, or lifestyle change) works best, for most of the people, most of the time. This is a fantastic way to develop effective treatment regimens but ignores any outliers. Within the study, a minority of patients will have found a better effect from the other intervention.
We try to overcome this by studying the effectiveness of medical interventions across different segments of the population. As an example, we might conduct a study into two medications for depression. In this study we can determine which of the medication works best for different segments such as over 65s or those of certain ethnicities. This helps us to tailor treatment, but the outcomes are never truly individualized.
By utilizing genetic testing to help treat addiction, we can pinpoint the cause and solution of the addiction. Rather than looking at the population as a whole, we are hyper-focused on the person we are treating. The CEO of Wired for Addiction™ has been developing evidence-based detection and treatment protocols for mood disorders and addiction since 2006, allowing for precise and individualized treatment.
Another issue with modern treatment protocols for addiction is that we often “try out” various medications before we find one that suits the patient. Effectiveness and side effects of medication vary from person to person because of their genetics. With advanced pharmacogenomic testing – a form of DNA analysis which determines which medications will work best for that individual – we can solve this problem to reduce harm, side effects, and time to recovery.
The Wired for Addiction™ Custom Genetic Test
The Wired for Addiction™ Custom Genetic Test utilizes over 15 years of scientific evidence in its hyper-precise DNA analysis test. This allows rehabilitation facilities to determine personalized and evidence-based treatment on an individual basis.
The custom genetic test has a panel of 69 genes which look for genetic variants linked to:
- Mood disorders
- Psychosocial conditions
- Inflammation’s impact on addiction
Wired for Addiction™ also analyses over 300 analyzes, 24 neurotransmitters, and various hormones to help individualize Medication Assisted Treatment for addiction. The custom genetic test may help patients with:
- Substance addiction
- Co-occurring disorders
- Treatment resistant mental health conditions
- Neurological conditions
- Chronic addiction relapse
The process is simple: a cheek swab DNA sample is taken from the patient and sent to the genetics laboratory, and results are returned in 5-10 business days from receipt of the sample.
The results are summarized in a 31-page report which helps determine potential causes of, and suggested interventions for, addiction. The pharmacogenomic report also provides a list of medications that are considered safe, should be used with caution, or should be avoided based on the individual’s genes.
By combining Medication Assisted Treatment with the Wired for Addiction™ Custom Genetic Test, addiction treatment centers can provide faster, safer, and more effective treatment for their service users.