When you enter a rehabilitation program of any kind, chances are you will be asked about your family’s history with addiction. Addiction issues often run in families, whether it is regarding alcohol, prescription drug abuse or street drug addictions. Someone with parents who are or were addicts is also more likely to have addiction issues; however even people who have more distant relatives, such as grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, who had addiction issues, can also be at a higher risk of developing problems with addiction themselves.
What Does Family History Have to Do With Addiction?
Prescription drug abuse is similar to alcohol abuse in that it is a substance that is readily available and legal to purchase. Prescriptions for painkillers often lead to a dependency due to the way and time at which they are described. People who are in pain or have experienced a traumatic injury will often suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other underlying conditions that can help develop a dependency on painkillers. A family history that includes addiction of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications, may reveal a higher risk of prescription drug abuse.
While some people will claim that addiction is hereditary much like any other disease, it is more likely that the addictive behaviors and abuse that occurred had more of a personal impact on you as a witness. Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can help some resolve to steer clear of alcohol, drugs and other addictions. However, if an accident occurs or there is pain in their lives, prescription drugs can enter the picture and without realizing it, an addiction or some level of abuse can happen. Studies have shown that there are many reasons for prescription drug abuse and alcoholism, including both genetic and environmental factors.
What is an Addictive Personality?
Another idea that many in the rehabilitation and recovery world have recognized is the idea that a person could have an addictive personality. What that means is that they are easily dependent on any number of things in their lives, not just drugs, alcohol and prescription medications. Addictions can be to gambling, relationships, food and other external influences that, for many other people, might not even be a problem. This addictive personality can be a huge pitfall to those trying to recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol and can make it easier for some individuals to quickly become dependent on prescription medications.
In addition to a genetic family history or an environment that included substance abuse, other external influences can contribute toward prescription drug abuse. Friends, teachers, mentors, neighbors and other people can often impact a person’s behaviors and make them more likely to be at a high risk of prescription drug abuse. The individual’s own history with alcohol and drug use can also make an impact on their likelihood to become addicted to prescription medications. All of these things must be considered before agreeing to take a prescription pain killer or other medication that is considered to be habit-forming or addictive.
What You Should Do
Speak with family members about any history of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as other addictive tendencies. There are many situations where a person was influenced by those in their environment and may not even remember it. While there is no definitive study that shows a person will absolutely have issues with prescription drug abuse simply because of family history, there is enough evidence not to completely dismiss it entirely. Understanding the influences that bring us to the point of addiction can be instrumental in a life of sober living.