Do you understand the genetics of addiction? Children of families with a history of addiction suffer greater risks for their own addiction. This risk comes not just from their genetic markers, but also influence of their family, home drug use, and exposure to substances in early years.
How Genetics of Addiction Affect Your Risk for the Same Problem
If you grew up with a family who suffered from addiction, you likely said many times that you could avoid that path in your life. However, the genetics of addiction don’t fall completely under your control. Simply drinking on occasion or doing drugs now can eventually escalate and create a choke hold on your life faster than for others that do not have the addiction marker in their genes.
Unfortunately, as someone dealing with addiction, you do not have similar freedoms or choices as other people when it comes to using substances and easily walking away. Addiction typically runs in the family. This means you inherit risk factors and the likelihood of abusing drugs or alcohol, yourself. The genetics of addiction and your environment provide the two biggest factors in whether you suffer the same problems.
How the Genetics of Addiction Work
Addiction doesn’t always travel from parent to child. Sometimes, it skips one or more generations. If your grandparents experienced this problem, you or your children could, too. According to the University of Utah, changes in over 100 genes account for 40 to 60 percent of your addiction risk, however, the rest of your risk lies in your environment.
Seeing your family members abusing drugs or alcohol creates a pattern of acceptance in your mind, even in your earliest years. This becomes your version of normal and you begin to mimic those behaviors without even thinking about it. Your friends’ attitudes about substance abuse, your neighborhood, and your exposure to child abuse or trauma also play a role in forming environmental acceptance of drug or alcohol abuse.
Despite the genetics of addiction, these markers don’t doom you to a fate of substance abuse and dependence yourself. However, they do increase your risk significantly making it critical to remain aware of your wellness in this area. In particular, avoiding or relieving your stress in healthy ways helps you steer clear of substance abuse is one way to practice awareness.
Having a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or other conditions also increases your risk. In fact, being a victim of trauma makes you vulnerable, as do problems with impulse control.
Starting your marijuana use early in life affects your ability to walk away from the drug by choice later. The younger you start using, the more likely you are to develop an addiction. Specifically, those using marijuana or other substances before the age of 15 experience 6.5 times higher likelihood for substance use disorder, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
Your parents’ attitudes about alcohol or drugs influence your chance of abusing these substances later in your life.
Changing Your Family Addiction History
By understanding the genetics of addiction, you can change your family addiction history. The simplest way to do this is by making a conscious choice for change. If you already believe you have a problem, it could mean getting the help you need for your substance use disorder. Ashley Addiction Treatment in Havre de Grace, Maryland provides this help for you and the future of your family.
For example, programs at Ashley include:
- Residential and IOP treatment
- Onsite detox and access to medical care
- Primary and relapse program
- Emerging adult treatment for men and women
- Individual, group, and family therapy
Change your family history of addiction today by ending your substance abuse. With the right treatment, support, and education, your whole family gains a better future. Call Ashley Addiction Treatment now at 866-313-6310 to learn about your family’s brighter days ahead.