Roughly 70.000 people have sought help for drug and alcohol abuse since rehabilitation services were first made available in Iceland, reports RÚV.
The vast majority of people who have sought help are men and most seek treatment in their twenties.
According to 10 years worth of research from deCODE Genetics, which looked at the development of addiction in the brain and the hereditary influence of addiction, people can be genetically predisposed to addiction but the circumstances of a person’s upbringing contributes to the development of addictive behaviours.
“We are always looking for enjoyment in our lives,” said Head Doctor of the rehab centre Vogur, Þórarinn Tyrfingsson. “But when we begin seeking enjoyment through substances we end up down the river.”
“We are born with [enjoyment] pathways that lead to specific places in the brain, but when we begin to tamper with those pathways via drugs, we reroute those pathways which can result in a person being unable to obtain enjoyment without drugs,” said CEO of deCODE Genetics and neurologist, Kári Stefánsson. “The problem is resetting these pathways so that they return to the way they were before they were tampered with, and that is very difficult.”