A variety of factors can contribute to whether or not an individual struggles with substance abuse. From mental health issues and social pressure to chronic pain and genetics, one or all of these may be the determining factor. For teens, one of the biggest risk factors for substance abuse is having a family history of addiction. While the environment that teens grow up in can play a part, genetics is also a factor for why one individual is more likely than another to face challenges with drug and alcohol use.
Knowing more about the relationship between family history and addiction can help you look out for the signs of drug or alcohol use in your teen. Learn more about substance abuse and genetics from the team at Ascend Healthcare today.
Is Addiction Hereditary?
There are a number of ways in which genetics can affect substance abuse in both teens and adults. Here are some of the most common links between genetics, family history, and addiction.
- Hereditary mental illnesses, including ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, are major risk factors that can lead to substance abuse.
- Environmental stressors on gene expression can add up to 60% to an individual’s risk of substance abuse.1
- Males and females generally have different responses to substance use. While men are more likely to seek out drugs, women are more in danger of cravings and relapses.
In these cases, addiction is hereditary and can be referred to as an “addictive personality.” While the medical community doesn’t have a singular definition for an addictive personality per se, there are a few personality traits that may inspire and coexist with addiction. For example, impulsive tendencies, issues with nonconformity, and physiological or psychological impairments create minds that are more susceptible to substance abuse.
The Connection Between Family History & Addiction
Genetics are only a piece of the puzzle. Environmental factors also contribute to substance use issues. These have to do with what an individual’s daily life is like, the stress they experience on a regular basis, and even past trauma. Peer pressure is often blamed for teen drug and alcohol abuse, but in reality, a range of other factors may be more problematic.
Environmental factors that are related to family history and addiction include:
- Conflicts between family members
- Seeing substance abuse happen in the home
- Loved ones with mental health issues
- Financial insecurity
For teens with a family history of addiction, there are ways to reduce the risk that they’ll struggle with substance abuse in the future. Staying involved in your teen’s life is one way to mitigate the risks. Get to know their friends, talk with them about drugs and alcohol, and encourage them to participate in hobbies that they enjoy. Substance abuse thrives in isolation, but teens who have a supportive family and who socialize with others are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
Substance Abuse Treatment at Ascend Healthcare
Teens with a family history of addiction may find themselves turning to the same substances as previous family members or different ones. They may also be struggling with mental health concerns that lead them down the path of substance abuse as a coping mechanism. You can stop their spiral with a little help from us.
Ascend Healthcare offers residential substance abuse and mental health treatment programs for teens in California. Here, clients work to understand the underlying causes of their substance abuse through personalized treatment programs. The majority of our clients spend between 45 and 90 days in treatment and participate in a wide range of therapeutic activities.
Learn more about our treatment programs by connecting with the admissions team by phone or through our online contact form today. A family history of addiction doesn’t have to dictate your teen’s future. Reach out now to begin a journey towards better health.