Josh Chandler | April 13, 2021

Is Drug Addiction Hereditary?

Hereditary Factors That Influence Addiction

Medical professionals and addiction treatment counselors point to many factors that can influence a person’s risk of developing an addiction, but is addiction hereditary?  You often hear of alcoholics growing up with an alcoholic parent.  Genetics do play a role in addition to other factors including environmental causes, experiencing trauma, and having an untreated mental health disorder.

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These factors and influences are explored when someone takes part in our Los Angeles drug addiction treatment programs because it’s essential to get to the root of what put them on the path to drug addiction. Doing this can go a long way in helping people avoid relapses once they are in recovery.

Genetic Causes of Addiction

People often speak about an “addictive personality,” but the medical field does not singularly recognize this as a reason for someone developing dependence on a substance. There are five illnesses in the mental health category that have a hereditary influence. These are ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. When these diseases and other mental health disorders go untreated, they can lead to substance abuse.

Within a person’s genetic makeup, some traits can lead to addiction when paired with a predisposition to drug abuse. These include impulsive tendencies, nonconformity, and impairment of metabolic, physiological, or psychological processes.

Environmental Causes of Addiction

The environment includes the places where you spend time and the people you’re around a lot, especially during the formative childhood years. A simple example is that a child who sees a parent reading is more likely to become an active reader. Children who witness adults in their life abusing drugs or alcohol, especially with an attitude that substance abuse is no big deal, will be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol in the future.

As a child progresses into their teenage years, peers become part of the environmental factor and either contribute to use or avoidance of substance abuse, depending on the group. Income levels within a community are also an environmental factor. More impoverished communities often see higher levels of substance abuse.

Trauma and Addiction

Traumatic events almost always shape a person’s life in some way. An untimely death in a family can make people change habits and lifestyles. Trauma and drug addiction are also linked, with several types of events or circumstances frequently leading to substance abuse. These can include trauma to an individual like emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; neglect or abandonment; domestic or societal violence; grief and other drastic loss; and things as widespread as war, terrorism, or refugee displacement.

Traumatic events during childhood are often coupled with environmental causes of addiction, which can multiply the possibility that a person will turn to drugs or alcohol as a solution. The best way to avoid trauma leading to addiction is for the affected person or people to seek counseling if and whenever possible to address the event’s impact.

Helping Families Struggling With Addiction

There’s typically no single factor that leads someone to abuse drugs or alcohol. It’s usually a combination of underlying reasons that may or may not have begun during a person’s childhood.

There are ways of helping families struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. First, it’s essential to communicate to all family members and any other loved ones that a member of their circle is having a problem. The next is to be honest about successes and failures when it comes to an individual’s treatment, including whether inpatient drug rehab is a considered option. Painting a more positive picture than exists will not support the person correctly. Third, and possibly most importantly, educate yourself and your family members about the negative impact of drugs and alcohol. It’s never too early for children to learn about substance abuse, and there are many age-appropriate resources available to answer the is addiction hereditary question.

To learn more about how Muse Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles works to heal the underlying causes of addiction, call us today. Our treatment specialists are available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you start your recovery journey. Call (800) 426-1818 today. All calls are confidential.

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Josh Chandler
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