It’s incredibly common for a family to have multiple members who struggle with substance abuse. Children of parents with drug or alcohol addiction are more likely to become addicts themselves. And, it’s not uncommon to find multiple siblings within one family who enter recovery.
Just how strong is the link between family history and addiction? Research has consistently shown that 40 to 60 percent of the risk for developing alcoholism can be attributed to genetic factors. This number is even higher for other substances, including cocaine and nicotine.
A Mix of Factors That Play a Role in Addiction
When considering why anyone develops a drug or alcohol addiction, it’s important to know that there is always more than one factor at play. Genes are certainly one common consideration. However, environment, parents, and even the individual’s response to the substance can be part of the reason why an addiction begins.
There is no simple cause-effect chain when it comes to genetics and substance abuse. It’s often a mix of family history, the influence of friends, and relationships with parents and other family members. Because of this, it’s never wise to simply blame an addiction on genes. Every individual has the ability to choose drugs and alcohol or to embrace a life free from addiction.
In many cases where there is a strong history of addiction within a family, it’s better for individuals to simply avoid the obvious substances that lead to addiction. The choice not to use can be wise and can help prevent the destruction from occurring in the first place.
For those with a family history of alcoholism or drug abuse, it’s also important to know that even if they develop an addiction, it doesn’t mean that recovery isn’t possible. Even if there are setbacks and relapses, each day offers the chance for long-term recovery. Addiction in the family does not have to be a life sentence!
Get Help for a Family Member
Family history should never hold anyone back from seeking recovery for addiction. With the right treatment, even someone with the strongest genetic predisposition can regain a sober and clean life.