Sharing common addictions that previous family members had is very common. Just because your parents, cousins and/or siblings have suffered from addiction does not guarantee that you would suffer from addiction as well.
If an addiction does occur in the family with multiple members it could be they share common traits. Common traits that could be passed on could be attention seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity, and hopelessness. When a person has these traits, it is common they turn to substance abuse to help cope with them. Also, when someone has these traits it is common that they are medicated to help deal with them already. A lot of times being simply prescribed medication can turn into an addiction.
Growing up in a Family of Substance Abuse Acceptance
If a person is brought up in a family where substance abuse or alcoholism is accepted, they are more than likely to get into the abuse as well. When it is something that is seen, and is accepted a person may think it is ok that they follow suite. They see growing up that is was something that was accepted so why wouldn’t they be accepted? Or they may think if they don’t do it as much as their family members did they don’t have a problem. It’s when someone thinks they don’t have a problem that before they know it they are struggling to get out of the addiction.
Common Mental Health Issues
A lot of substance abuse and addiction begins with mental health issues. It is common that mental health issues run in the family. Unfortunately, sometimes people turn to drug and alcohol use to deal with the mental health issues they have. Which that only creates another problem being addiction. If a person doesn’t seek the appropriate help for their mental health issues they may never truly know how to deal with those issues. Aside from abusing substances to ignore the problem or feel better about it.
It is also common that different family members have addictive personalities which Is something that can be passed on in families. Saying that someone has an addictive personality is saying that they have certain characteristics that make them more susceptible to this type of problem. Such people might not only be more likely to become dependent on drugs or alcohol, but even things such as relationships (co-dependency) or work (workaholic).
To have a genetic predisposition to something means to be susceptible to it or more likely to encounter it due to inherited genes. This doesn’t guarantee that because your parents are alcoholics that’s they would pass down an alcoholic gene. It means there could be certain genes that could be inherited and lead to a similar addiction. People can be genetically predisposed to certain illnesses or behaviors. Genetic predispositions are passed down through family histories. For example, if Lisa’s mother and grandmother suffered from breast cancer, she is more likely, or genetically predisposed, to get it. Although she may never suffer from it, she is more susceptible than someone who has no family history of the disease.
Nature vs. nurture
Nature vs. nurture is a longstanding argument between the influence of biology and environment. Common addictions can be shared in families due to common traits, common mental health issues, genetic predisposition or just by being raised in an environment where substance or alcohol abuse is accepted. One of the oldest arguments in the history of psychology is the Nature vs Nurture debate. Each of these sides have good points that it’s hard to decide whether a person’s development is predisposed in his DNA, or a majority of it is influenced by this life experiences and his environment.
If you or someone you love if suffering from addiction don’t hesitate to call for help or just answers! It’s understandable to have questions about addiction for you or someone you love and it’s okay to seek help! It is never too late!