The idea of inheriting traits and behaviors from prior generations is nothing new. Maybe you were told at some point that you have your mother’s eyes; or perhaps someone saw you react to a personal stressor and commented, “you get that temper from your father!”
The DNA in our bloodlines is used to identify vulnerabilities to physical ailments and provide information regarding cultural origins and emotional predispositions. But what part do our inherited genetic traits play in relation to substance addiction?
If your parents struggled with a substance use disorder, does that mean that you will automatically follow suit? Or will your life follow a different path?
There is no simple answer. There are a number of influencing factors regarding inherited familial traits. Additionally, the path to addiction can be influenced by any combination of them.
Review the following three factors regarding addiction and genetics, and learn how these considerations can impact your life:
A number of studies have focused on the interconnectivity of systemic, familial addiction and the role it plays throughout generational spans. Similar to heritable genes that impact complex familial diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, the genes associated with addiction have been shown to pass from generation to generation on a fundamental cellular level.
Taking this information into account, it is essential to understand both the addictive traits within your family’s history and the role they can play on your addictive triggers and personal decision patterns.
Living in fear of addiction is never recommended, but respecting the impact it has on your susceptibility to a substance use disorder is essential to conquering your addictive predispositions.
While inheritable traits play an identifiable role in your personal addiction issues, the environment in which you are raised can be just as impactful.
Exposure to substance use at a young age such as watching a parent or older sibling regularly use normalizes those behaviors. As you grow, these maladaptive addictive behaviors seem to be typical social standards that lay the foundation for increased experimentation and long-term substance addiction.
Along similar lines, engaging with peers who regularly abuse substances establishes a standard in which the only way to socially interact includes regular substance use.
In either of these scenarios, being exposed to addictive behaviors on a regular basis trains the brain that these types of behaviors are not only socially acceptable but are also encouraged within all social circles. A majority of individuals struggling with a substance use disorder report early and consistent exposure to substance use and attribute these experiences to their current addictive behaviors.
Whether your addiction can be traced back to systemic, familial patterns or constant social exposure, the power to overcome your substance use disorder is within your grasp.
Consider the individual diagnosed with an inherited disease or one who witnessed their family members constantly abuse substances throughout their life. While these factors play a role in their addiction, personal decisions or a desire to defeat the disease can conquer all of these elements.
The decision to initiate rehabilitating services and the commitment to attain sustained sobriety is within you no matter your personal experiences or family history.
Attributing your addictive behaviors to personal issues or family habits is fair. We all are heavily influenced by the environments in which we are raised and actions we witness. However, if you truly want to overcome your addiction and achieve a greater level of meaning and purpose, the finger pointing must stop.
If you pause to notice, when you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you. This is no mistake. It is a reminder that, while situations can influence our lives, we have the ability to overcome.
Christ promised that you can achieve all things through Him. Taking responsibility for your behaviors and striving to attain a better life is the first step toward achieving a sober existence. Placing your faith in God and starting your journey with Him is the best way ensure success.
If there is a family history of drug addiction or alcoholism in your family, you are not destined to become an addict.
If you or a loved one are currently abusing or addicted to drugs, the time is now to act and turn things around.
At Covenant Hills, we believe that you can get back to be the person you know is still inside you. Every addict can get clean. God is there to provide you with the strength to vanquish any addiction that plagues your life.
Through our faith-based drug treatment program, your whole person health will be treated – an approach that focuses on restoring the mind, body, and soul in a safe, peaceful environment – with the support of expert addiction and medical professionals.