Five Things in Your Family History That May Put You at Risk for Substance Abuse

There are many things that can contribute to your own personal risk for drug abuse or alcoholism. Just a few of the risk factors are personality, environment and genetics. In fact, genetics and family history play a very large part in whether you are predisposed for substance abuse. The following five things in your family history could put you at higher risk.

1. A History of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Several research studies have shown that if your parents or grandparents were alcoholics or drug abusers, you could become one too. Even though researchers and scientists don’t know exactly which genes cause alcoholism or drug addiction, it has been proven that children of addicts are more likely to become addicts themselves. Part of the reason for this could be environmental.

2. A History of Negligent Parents

A home that is not stable could cause children in the household to end up with addiction problems. Parents who abuse their children or neglect them often cause children to grow up with insecurities and possible mental problems.

3. A History of Depression and Other Mental Disorders

Mental disorders like depression can cause people to turn to drugs and alcohol. For example, if you are depressed and having a particularly bad day, you might decide to get drunk to forget your worries. This is a misuse and abuse of alcohol.

The same could be said for other drugs. In addition children who have parents with mental disorders being more likely to get their own mental disorders, children who have parents who use a lot of medications might end up doing the same. Some medications for mental disorders can be very helpful, but at the same time, some can be very addictive. Drug abuse does not simply mean abuse of street drugs like crack or heroine. Drug abuse can mean abuse of prescription drugs as well.

4. A History of High Stress Families

Families who run rampant with stress tend to seek out certain outlets as releases. Hopefully, individuals and families who have a lot of stress turn to positive outlets like exercise, talking it out or going to therapy. Unfortunately, many individuals and families decide to take out their stress with substance abuse. When people grow up with families who turn to drugs and alcohol when things get tough, they will do the same thing when they become adults. It is a vicious cycle that is difficult to stop.

5. A History of Hanging out With the Wrong Crowd

Families often follow patterns. If some of your past family members hung around people who did drugs or abused alcohol, there is a chance that you might too. As you get older, if you continue to hang around those who use drugs and alcohol for recreation or to deal with stress, you should consider distancing yourself to keep you and your own family free from negative influences.

Remember, it’s not just family history that can influence whether or not you have risk factors for becoming an addict. Even though most of the genetic and environmental risk factors come from parents or grandparents who have abused drugs and alcohol, individuals who have siblings who were or are alcoholics or drug addicts can also be affected by these individuals. If you are worried that you could be falling into drug addiction or alcoholism and you have any of the risk factors above, seek medical help immediately. There are programs you can enter to become more aware of your options for recovery.

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