THE GENETIC RELATION TO SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Our genes may be one of the leading factors in whether or not we develop a substance addiction in life. Family history has an overwhelming influence over how we deal with different situations.
Numerous studies have confirmed that addictions are the result of poor coping skills and genetic predisposition. Individuals that have difficulties dealing with stress and emotions are more likely to develop substance abuse issues than those who cope well with their emotions.
Having a parent with a substance abuse problem increases the likelihood of a child developing an issue of their own later in life. One study concluded that children with immediate relatives that are addicts are eight times more likely to become an addict. In addition to genetics, there are several factors that influence whether or not the child of an addict becomes an addict themselves.
- Children of addicts are more likely to develop behavioral issues. The inability to cope or deal with their emotional turmoil makes them more susceptible to drug or alcohol reliance.
- They have a greater opportunity of getting a hold of the substance. Addicts often have their substance of choice on them or nearby. Children in the same household can find the substance easier than those who are not living with an addict.
- They are genetically wired to become addictions. This is a real-life example of what an addictive personality truly is.
Just because a child of an addict is more likely to become one does not mean it is guaranteed to happen. In fact, the majority of children living in this situation do not become addicts. It is important for them to learn early on to avoid risky behavior that may jeopardize their futures.
Kids that hang around others who are drug users or alcoholics are at higher risk of trying the substance for themselves. Avoid hanging around people who want you to use. It is not entirely possible to avoid family members all the time, but developing refusal skills will help them stay on the right path.
It is very important for children of addicts to learn about the addiction. Although they are aware the actions of their parents are not normal, they may not be entirely aware that it is a disease. Teaching children about addiction will help them make sense of the behavior better.
Children need to understand that their parent’s addiction is not their fault. Children often blame themselves for how their parents behave. It is very important they recognize that the addiction is not their fault and they have done nothing to cause it.
Children need to know that they are not alone. Seeing a parent suffer from addiction can be extremely difficult for children. They need to be able to speak honestly and openly to someone about what they are going through.
At Asana Recovery, we see firsthand how much addiction impacts families. Dealing with a loved one that is struggling with addiction is difficult, but there is hope. Contact us today at (949)329-5479 to see what options are available for you.