As science advances, we find ourselves worrying about genetics and inheritance on a normal basis, wondering what diseases we might be at risk for. We do the research, we look at our family history, and we adopt new exercise curriculums and diets to prevent the worst.

Does this worry over genetics also include drug and alcohol addictions, however? According to a number of studies, while addiction isn’t guaranteed in the family tree, genetic vulnerability is a possibility. This means that those who are related to past drug and alcohol addicts are vulnerable to the same mental patterns and struggles.

This is never an alarm or a sign to give up. Rather, you should consider the following ideas of how drug abuse in genetics relates and what habits you should pick up to prevent this.

The Concern

Studies point to the idea that the vulnerability towards drug and alcohol addiction can be inherited through genetics. But what are the numbers? How much risk lies in genetics and numbers?

The truth is that genetics play quite an important role in the vulnerability of people towards drug or alcohol addiction. In fact, half of the susceptibility to addiction is related to genetics—between 40% and 60%.

Indirectly related to genetics is also the environment a person grows up in related to addiction. They may not only have to take their genetics into consideration but also their exposure to other addicts, such as their own parents or siblings.

The Signs to Look For

There are a number of behaviors and mental predispositions to consider when it comes to genetic susceptibility towards drug or alcohol addiction. You may find certain psychological patterns that show up frequently that reveal your vulnerabilities towards possible addiction.

Personality disorders are a glaring issue that can provide several difficulties. This includes narcissism, paranoia, depression, bipolar disorder, or even schizophrenia or disassociative identity disorder. Aligning with these personality disorders are addictive, impulsive, obsessive, or compulsive behaviors.

Impulsive or compulsive behaviors can lead to risky actions, while addictive or obsessive behaviors can connect to the abusive nature of addiction. Furthermore, abusive behaviors toward individuals can affect the possibility of falling into an addiction, and in turn, intensify the abusive behavior in question.

Breaking the Generational Cycle

Dealing with the possibility of fighting a drug or alcohol addiction and breaking the potential cycle within your family is not an easy task. Oftentimes, you are fighting against the odds that you were born into. Nevertheless, this does not mean the fight is a hopeless one.

First, you need to consider your environment—are you surrounded by family who deals with a drug or alcohol addiction? If so, you should address the problem for the sake of your own safety. You may need to help them with their own problems or find a way to escape a potentially toxic environment.

In addition, you must be open, honest, and accepting of yourself and your situation. You cannot pretend or lie to yourself about your own risks of becoming addicted; instead, you must accept the possibility that you are at risk. On top of this, you must be willing to ask and accept help when you need it, even if you feel it hurts your pride.

Finally, you must remain committed to watching out for your potential addiction. Along with remaining open and honest with yourself, you must be mindful of your surroundings—be it your family or having certain drugs or alcoholic substances in bulk around you. And in the worst case scenario, you must be willing to take the steps necessary for recovery.

Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

If you or a loved one struggle with potential drug or alcohol addiction, consider looking into a Symptoms of Addiction program in Tennessee. You may also seek Discovery Place’s own programs offered, such as our Continuing Care Program as well as our Family Matters Workshop in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.


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