Family History of Substance Abuse: Preventing Addiction From Affecting the Next Generation

Addiction is a terrible disease that can cause rippling effects in someone’s life and livelihood. Sometimes it can be tough to pinpoint exactly why and how an addiction emerged. Drug addiction can stem from feelings and certain memories (usually traumatic or underlying causes). However, one of the factors that play a big role in addiction is genetics. If your family has a history of substance abuse, it highly increases your risk of addiction and other behavioral disorders. 

The environment a person grows up in can have a massive impact on their mental state in the future. According to research done by the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD), if a person’s family has a history of substance abuse, they are twice as likely to develop one as well. It’s essential to keep in mind that while your family history increases the likelihood that you’ll develop an addiction, nothing is written in stone. Regardless of your family history, there are ways that you can prevent yourself from developing an addiction. 

At Coastal Detox, we understand how serious of an issue addiction can be. Substance abuse in families can be devastating for everyone involved. That’s why we’re here to provide you with the knowledge and resources that you need to help you avoid addiction. There are many things that you can do to live a healthy and normal life, free of drugs. Understanding your past pains while learning to cope with them is essential to staying clean or getting clean. 

How Past Experiences Can Affect the Risk of Addiction

There are a variety of factors that can affect your risk of addiction, particularly in your early childhood. You could have grown up in a negative household, or perhaps you had parents that abused drugs regularly. Nearly all addicts have loved ones that also suffer from substance abuse. Thus, young children with drug-abusing parents have a greater chance of becoming addicts themselves. 

Past experiences with drug-abusing family members can negatively change the trajectory of a person’s life or cause a person to develop mental health issues. Being the child of a parent who abused drugs or mistreated you can even negatively affect a person’s ability to function and grow. Over time, negative, drug-related past experiences can lead a person down the road towards addiction. In fact, many children with drug-abusing parents may turn to drugs to cope with the stress that having drug-abusing parents has brought on them.  Other children with drug-abusing parents will end up following in their parents’ footsteps. 

A family with a history of substance abuse can be extremely problematic in the long-run. But there are things you can do to break the chain of substance abuse in your family. Your past shouldn’t affect your future. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to prevent yourself from abusing drugs. With the help of professionals and your own determination, you can live a clean and happy life, free of drugs and mental ruin. 

Defining Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders

It’s important to know the signs of substance abuse or behavioral disorders. By recognizing these warnings and acting upon the tips laid out on this page, you can prevent the risk of substance abuse from reaching you. Substance use disorder is a condition that’s characterized by repetitive, disruptive, and problematic patterns of substance abuse (which results in distress and impairment). While each substance has its own unique effects, there are some common signs of a substance use disorder:

  • Inability to reduce or stop your use of substances
  • Consuming large amounts of a particular substance and continuing to take it even if it’s not needed
  • Cravings and urges to continue using the substance
  • Knowing there’s an underlying problem behind your drug use but not being able to stop using substances
  • Large amounts of time using or trying to get access to substances
  • Building a physical tolerance (having to use more to get its effects)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using

Behavioral disorders are also very detrimental to your mind and body. There are many different disorders with many differing symptoms. Thus, it’s important to consult a professional for a true diagnosis. 

Mental disorders can begin as far back as childhood. They are characterized by emotional disturbances that last for a long period of time (six months or more). These can have an effect on a person’s educational, personal, and social development. Let’s take a look at some of the general signs of a possible behavioral disorder (symptoms vary greatly from disorder to disorder):

  • Inappropriate expression of feelings that are typically uncalled for (in a non-stressful, normal environment)
  • Problems learning
  • Depression and general moodiness that lingers for months on end
  • Headaches and stomach aches due to fear of school, certain interactions, and other normal situations
  • Inability to create and maintain relationships with peers, teachers, parents, and others

Preventing Substance Abuse For Future Generations

It can be a complex issue dealing with the interaction between genetics and a family’s upbringing. There are some cases where a parent may pass down some genetic markets (mental health or substance abuse disorders) to their children. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that there is some genetic predisposition to addiction that can be passed down. While this may be completely out of your control, your future (for yourself and the next generation) is in your hands. 

There are different things you can do to stop problems from developing, in terms of substance abuse or mental disorders in your life. While some things are completely out of our control, we still have a choice to live a better, happier life. Practice these tips and don’t be afraid to reach out for help when things get rough. Rehab centers like Coastal Detox are here to help you reach a better place if you’re struggling. You’re not alone in this battle, get help today if needed!

Come to Terms with Your Past Wounds

There are many stressful and traumatic experiences that may affect our development. These underlying issues may be the cause of distress and possible substance abuse down the line. Whether you decide to get treatment or not, it’s imperative to heal from these wounds. Oftentimes, it’s these thoughts that fuel our addiction further. Luckily, there are resources and counselors that are ready to help you on your journey. 

It’s important to know that even with a family history of substance abuse, it’s never too late to reach out for help. By addressing these past struggles and learning to cope with them, you can come to terms with these feelings. Now’s the time to improve and remain on a track towards sobriety for you and your family after you. 

history of substance abuse

Keeping Track of Drug and Alcohol Use

When it comes to alcohol, it’s completely normal to have a drink or two. You don’t need to be completely sober at a party or event just because you have family members that suffer from addiction. However, you should keep track of how much you are drinking or using drugs. 

Those with a family history of alcohol abuse are 4 times more likely to have alcohol problems of their own. When talking about drug addiction, a person is 8 times more likely to develop an addiction if he or she has a family history of drug addiction. 

It’s important to be aware of how much you drink and how much you use. Excessive drinking can become a habit, all of which can stem from life’s stresses or past memories. Keep a close eye on the amount you are drinking and don’t lose control. Before you know it, an addiction could branch out if you see it coming. Always remember to stay in control and aware of your alcohol/drug intake.

Be Aware of Triggers 

Certain triggers can cause you to spiral into a state of alcohol or drug abuse. They may make you want to drink or use drugs to cope with the stress (of the trigger). These triggers can come in different forms and vary from person to person. It’s important to not let these triggers get the better of you. Common triggers include:

  • Negative feelings/moods (depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Excessive stress
  • Relationship problems 
  • Troubles at work or at school
  • Financial struggles

While each of these can pose stress and troublesome thoughts, it’s important to not turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. There are other ways to healthily destress and cope with these stressors. 

Create a solid stress management system. This can be done with professional help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; whether it is close family members, friends, or professional counselors, there’s always someone ready to help. 

Managing Your Stress Effectively

There are many things that you can do to effectively manage your stress. While there are many stressors that can emerge throughout our lives and through our thoughts, it’s how we react to them that matters. 

It can be easy to give up and succumb to the urge to drink or use drugs to take the pain away. While genetics play a factor, it isn’t the end all be all. Everyone deals with problems but it’s how we manage and cope with them that counts. Consider some of the follows techniques and tips for managing stress in a healthy way:

  • Mediation
  • Yoga
  • Exercise and physical activities
  • Eating a balanced and healthy diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Develop hobbies (reading, writing, etc.)
  • Consider getting a pet
  • Spend time outside with nature
  • Set aside time for yourself and your thoughts

These are all ways to stay on track and away from substances during times of stress. While it may be tempting, and you may get certain urges to do so, you don’t have to slip into addiction as your past generations did. Be patient and stick closely to a regiment that will help you cope with stress and life’s problems.

Hope is Available, Despite Your Family’s History of Substance Abuse

If you find yourself slipping or struggling with an addiction, it may be time to get help. Regardless of your family’s history of substance abuse, you can change for the better. 

At Coastal Detox, we specialize in safe and effective detox. With a wonderful staff and a trusted facility, you will be on your way to a better life in no time. Contact us today to learn more about our drug addiction treatment and other addiction resources. 

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