Addiction Runs in My Family: Will I Become an Addict Too?
Unfortunately, having addiction run in your family does predispose you to be more likely to become an addict than someone who does not have this in their genetic makeup. It does not mean you will definitely experience a substance use disorder or another similar issue, but your higher likelihood of doing so makes it dangerous to abuse drugs or alcohol often and in high doses.
Risk Factors and Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The genes that people are born with––in combination with environmental influences––account for about half of their addiction vulnerability.” Therefore, if those in your family were drug abusers, it makes you genetically more vulnerable to substance abuse yourself. It also makes you more likely to become addicted to a substance if you do begin to abuse it. However, every individual has their own free will before addiction sets in, and you can consciously choose not to abuse dangerous for this reason specifically, thereby protecting yourself considerably from this possibility.
Also, though, seeing drug abuse constantly, especially when you were young and impressionable, can intensify one’s vulnerability toward abusing substances themselves. If your parents consistently abused drugs when you were young, if you grew up around your family taking drugs or drinking, or if you were otherwise exposed to these behaviors, it will seem more normal to you. You will also be more likely to imitate it earlier in life, which is when addiction can take hold even more strongly. Therefore, having a family where addiction is prevalent can cause this issue to occur in your own life.
How Can I Avoid Becoming an Addict?
When you understand this is an important factor in your life that could lead you toward addiction more easily than most individuals, you can begin to take actions that will protect you from this outcome. The easiest and safest thing to do is to avoid the use of mind-altering substances that would be dangerous to you and could cause you to become addicted. However, you may also decide to watch your consumption of certain substances like alcohol, coffee, etc. instead of cutting them out entirely.
If you feel you have a strong likelihood of addiction that stems from your interactions with your family, your upbringing, and your genetic history, you can always consult a counselor or go to a support group meeting for family members of addicts. The former choice allows you to receive advice from a professional on how to avoid dangerous actions that may lead you down an undesirable path, and the latter can allow you to discuss your struggles with others who understand them and learn ways to cope with these issues in your day-to-day life.
Being an addict is dangerous and can lead to many problems in your life. Unfortunately, many people are unable to break the cycle and end up become addicts just like those in their families. If this has happened to you, make sure to seek treatment right away. Especially with your background, you will need professional help to make a change in your life. Call 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) to find out more about addiction and the factors that affect it or to find a treatment center in your area.