Family is the first unit of the society where love and care are shown, but if the family has a history of being dysfunctional and substance abusers, there’s a big chance that love and affection are not present and the cycle will not end. However, if you already know that addiction runs in the family, there is still something you can do to avoid the same fate as your other family members did.
If you grew up in a family that is addicted to drugs and alcohol, chances are, this could happen to you too, but before that becomes the case, you can still turn your life around and fight addiction. So what can you do? Below are the best guides and tips that you can use to make that change.
The Role of Your Family in Creating Addiction
According to studies, 50% of genetic predisposition coupled with 50% poor coping skills results in addiction. This shows that family history plays a major role in your chances of being addicted in many ways. It has also been discovered that drug and alcohol addiction are “genetically complex” which means that genes also play an important role in whether someone is more susceptible to addiction or not.
Further studies and research showed that numerous genes and variations within these genes are involved in the process of addiction. One of which is how a person’s genes metabolize alcohol while others show how nerve cell signals help others to regulate this activity. It is also believed that these genes can be passed down from one generation to another. So if both your parents have experienced addiction, there is a good chance that it could be passed on to you or your siblings. However, genes are not the only factors that affect the behavior of an individual in their family. Environment factors also play a big role.
There are also several risks related to the family that could increase the vulnerability of an individual in the family to addiction. It could be due to the fact that the family is dysfunctional from the beginning. Conflicts and aggression towards one another are often present in the family. Mental health issues can also trigger addiction; for example, if one of the parents suffer from depression or other psychological issues, this could add to the already predisposing factors of addiction. It could also be due to the fact that one or both parents are active users of alcohol and drugs. All of these things can definitely impact the development of addiction to a child or children within the home setting.
Personal issues, as well as poor social skills, can also contribute to the development of addiction. If the person has limited social skills, someone who cannot function well in a social setting, or has a fragile self-esteem, can trigger addiction later on. A family that does has little or no support system can also develop addicts in the future. People with a history of aggression or difficulty in managing their emotions can also suffer from addiction. A family with a history of abuse and trauma, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders can develop into alcohol or drug abusers.
Can Addiction Be Considered as a Disease?
Let’s say you have cancer, if you already have a genetic history of cancer in the family combining it with poor health choices, like lack of healthy diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc. then you can be more susceptible to developing cancer. The same goes for common diseases like adult-onset diabetes or heart diseases. If you are diagnosed with any of these, then you will most likely ask what can you do to overcome this disease, right? This is how you should approach addiction as well because, like any major illness, addiction is curable. Focus on how you can strengthen yourself control the addiction that is controlling you.
You Can Become an Addict
Yes, there is a chance that you will become addicted to something at some point. It could be drugs or alcohol, it will surely develop later on, especially if you have a family history of addiction. If you have one family member that is addicted to alcohol, then you have a chance of developing an addiction of some kind as well. Addictions work in the same part of your brain and when the brain is wired to one addiction, it is possible that you are predisposed to all types of addictions.
This happens mostly to women who have alcoholic members of their family. Most of the time, these women develop addictions that are undetected until later in life. It could be an addiction to pain relievers or eating disorders that are diagnosed too late. All of these happen because one addiction can lead to another.
What Can You Do?
If you come from a family that has a history of addiction, you are more likely to develop one as well. However, if you can recognize any bad behaviors early one, you can still do something about it.
One way or another, you must decide to make a change. Once you have decided on changing then you must have a specific goal in mind. It’s either quit entirely or quit some substances and behaviors. However, change does not happen overnight. You can start to reduce the spending of money on addictive substances and then reduce addictive behaviors. Setting a clear goal on your mind before putting it into practice can help you in meeting it.
You can also try these to reduce your risk of developing an addiction:
- Early-onset of alcohol addiction starts at an early age. So avoid drinking and drug use at an early age.
- Check your alcohol consumption. Try to stay away from alcohol or peer pressure.
- If you have friends or peers who consume alcohol, avoid hanging out with them.
- Seek assistance from a health care provider if you are pressured into using or have developed depression and anxiety.
- Keep yourself busy by participating in work programs or school prevention programs.
In any case that you realize that you are already using or abusing alcohol and drugs, it’s best to seek help from health care professionals. This way, they can provide you with better solutions and treatment programs as listed in the National Institute of Health. Keep in mind that even if you have addiction in your family history, you can still avoid the risks and addiction problem in your own lifetime. In fact, breaking the cycle is the best way to do this. Be proactive and find ways to reduce or eliminate your substance use. Seeking help for your mental health as well as support will result in better choices. History does repeat itself, but that does not mean you cannot alter it for the better.
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