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Family History and Addiction Risk: What You Should Know

One of the biggest problems facing the healthcare system today involves drug and alcohol addiction. It is always better to prevent this problem from happening than to fix it after it has already taken place. Therefore, it is critical to take a look at the biggest addiction risk factors of addiction: family history. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, family history is one of addiction’s biggest risk factors. This means that anyone with family members who have developed substance abuse issues is at a higher risk of developing substance abuse issues of their own. By remaining aware of this major factor, it may be possible to engage in risk reduction strategies. Learn more about family history, addiction risk, and risk reduction below.

Why Does Family History Play a Role?

Ultimately, family history plays a major role in addiction risk in numerous ways. Of course, genetics is a major factor; however, substance abuse and drug addiction are complex when it comes to genetics. A tremendous amount of research has recently been completed that has identified countless genes and variations of those genes that can be associated with substance abuse and addiction. For example, one specific gene may impact someone’s ability to metabolize alcohol, impacting how it impacts the nervous system. Another gene may impact how nerve cells signal one another when they are exposed to addictive substances. Because these genes can be passed down from one generation to the next, this may be one example of how family history plays a role in addiction. We offer the following types of treatment for teens struggling with the following issues:

What Are Specific Family Risks That May Increase Addictive Tendencies?

When people think about family history, they immediately think about genetics. Even though genetics are incredibly important, they are not the only factor when family history is being discussed. Some of the other factors that may be included under the umbrella of family history include:

  • The presence of family dysfunction such as aggression or conflicts, which may lead to mental health issues and substance abuse disorders
  • A parent with a history of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, which can lead to a dual diagnosis situation
  • A parent who is actively suffering from substance abuse, drug abuse, or alcohol-related disorders, which can be passed down to their children

Anyone with a history of these issues in their family may be more likely to develop substance abuse issues of their own. Experiencing trauma associated with substance use disorder does not deter most people from using drugs and alcohol; it teaches them that drugs and alcohol are the only ways to cope.

Are There Ways To Engage in Risk Reduction?

Particularly for teenagers concerned about developing addiction or substance abuse disorders, there are ways to engage in risk reduction strategies. A few of the main examples include:

  • Teenagers should try to limit the amount of time they spend with individuals using drugs or drinking heavily
  • It is important for teenagers to keep all of their doctor’s appointments and visit with a mental health professional if their primary care doctor refers them to this specialist

Finally, parents should engage their children in meaningful conversations about drugs and alcohol. Keeping kids engaged in after-school activities may help as well. This may include community service, athletics, or music programs. When teenagers spend their time in other programs, they have a lower chance of developing drug abuse or substance abuse disorders.

Contact Destinations for Teens for More Information on Addiction Risk

If you are looking for more information on addiction risk in teenagers, then reach out to Destinations for Teens today. Destinations for Teens has a wide variety of addiction treatment center resources that may be helpful for teenagers and families. Contact us today at 877.466.0620 to learn more about how we can help you with your teen’s mental health.