Tests for Addiction: Benefits of GARS


AUGUST 31, 2019

Edited by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

SpringBoard Recovery was born from the passion and personal experience of its founders. We understand the real-world challenges of early recovery and are here to help and we are passionate about helping our clients lead balanced, healthy, and fulfilling lives.


Tests for Addiction: Benefits of GARS

The opioid epidemic costs the American public billions of dollars each year. The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) reported the opioid crisis in 2015 carried a price tag of $504 billion, and in 2017, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States. In searching for ways to save lives and put an end to the opioid crisis in America, health experts are considering advanced tests for addiction.

Tests like Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS) can be used to identify individuals who are at a higher risk for addiction. Researchers believe using GARS to identify at-risk children and monitor them through young adulthood can help reveal uncharted biological details of addiction.



Getting and staying sober is very challenging, but with the right support network and tools, it's completely attainable.

GARS Tests for Addiction through DNA

Addiction Treatment Consultant John Giordano describes GARS therapy as “a GPS of your addictive self.” Giordano explains that GARS creator, Dr. Kenneth Blum, can use a person’s DNA to identify the genes associated with addiction. Results of the GARS test allow doctors to identify specific parts of the brain related to addiction that are not functioning correctly. The theory of using GARS tests for addiction likelihood has the power to support people in making different choices when they know they are more susceptible to addiction.

“Imagine the different choices people would make knowing that they or their loved one or child have a genetic predisposition to addiction,” expresses Giordano. By utilizing the GARS test, doctors can help at-risk patients prevent the destruction of addiction before it even begins.

Is the GARS Assessment Accurate as a Test for Addiction?

Extensive research performed on the GARS theory found that “GARS significantly predicted the severity of both alcohol and drug dependency.” Researchers concluded that if GARS testing was performed on certain children, like those with ADHD or other spectrum disorders, doctors could use treatment methods other than addictive prescription drugs to treat the diseases and lessen the likelihood that those children would become substance dependent later in life.

Many researchers and addiction specialists find that GARS offers several benefits, including:

  • Advantage during diagnosis and the treatment process.
  • Ability to implement treatment theories rather than potentially addictive medications.
  • It allows for long-term research of the biology of addiction to better understand and treat the disease.

While the GARS testing method has several benefits for doctors, addiction specialists, and those at high risk for addictive behaviors, some question the accuracy of the test. The test is based on DNA results which specify when an individual carries a gene that predisposes them to addiction. Some argue, however, that when an individual is at risk for Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), drug or alcohol addiction may not be the imminent result. Meaning, the individual could turn to several reward-focused behaviors like illicit drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, overeating, or any other behavior that offers dopamine needed to intensify pleasure.

There is also a fear that when an individual is tested, and the GARS reveals a high likelihood of addiction or compulsion, that person lives under a label. There may be an assumption that the individual will inevitably lean toward risky behaviors, which is not the goal of the test.

Scottsdale, AZ Drug Treatment Facility

By knowing an individual’s GARS, alcohol, and drug treatment facilities in Scottsdale, AZ, and nationwide, can create a customized detox and addiction treatment plan for each patient. The GARS evidence could help addiction specialists provide specific care for the patient. It’s important to note that genetic testing is just one element of prevention and treatment. The experienced team at SpringBoard Recovery can walk you through treatment options for yourself or a loved one. The first step toward living the meaningful, sober life you desire begins with a single call. Contact the SpringBoard Recovery team today to discover which treatment options are best for you.


  1. MarketWatch: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-much-the-opioid-epidemic-costs-the-us-2017-10-27
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db329.htm
  3. The Sober World: https://www.thesoberworld.com/2019/04/01/new-cutting-edge-treatments-improving-outcomes/
  4. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128289/
  5. In Tech Open: https://www.intechopen.com/books/gene-therapy-applications/genetic-addiction-risk-score-gars-testing-for-polygenetic-predisposition-and-risk-to-reward-deficien
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/prescription-medicines
  7. Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/substance-abuse-chemical-dependency#:~:text=Substance%20dependence%20is%20the%20medical,drug%20to%20get%20an%20effect
  8. National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11280926/
  9. HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/gambling-addiction-and-problem-gambling.htm#:~:text=Gambling%20addiction%E2%80%94also%20known%20as,you%20or%20your%20loved%20ones.

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AUGUST 31, 2019

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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