What to do if drug or alcohol abuse run in your family

Do you have a parent or another family member who has dealt with drug or alcohol addiction? Are you noticing yourself exhibiting similar patterns and behaviors that could be problematic? Find out what could potentially lead to a bigger issue before you’re following in their footsteps.

Genetic Factors

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “as much as half of a person’s risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs depends on his or her genetic makeup.” This isn’t a “life sentence” so to speak, but it is something to be mindful of.

If you have a family member with current or past alcohol or drug addiction or a tendency to misuse/abuse alcohol or drugs, statistics aren’t stacked in your favor. This doesn’t mean you are predestined for dependency problems of your own, but it may indicate a predisposition to addiction. This is valuable, potentially life-saving information you can use to your benefit if you find yourself struggling. Awareness can help you remain in control.

Family Habits and Accepted Behavior

When children grow up in a culture where they witness substance abuse, it can seem “normal” or just something they’ve grown used to. Adults in these scenarios may not intend to influence the younger generation to follow in their lead. However, examples can be powerful, even without any direct pressure or persuasion.

Early exposure to alcohol and drugs, limited or non-existent rules and regulations, high-stress households, and lack of accountability, responsibility, and structure can be a precursor to problems down the road as the child gets older. This behavior may blend in with the family dynamics as a child reaches adulthood. Rather than seen as alarming, as addiction might in other families, this conduct might not raise the same level of concern.

If you believe your family patterns are unhealthy, unstable, or putting you at risk, find help outside your family unit through counseling. You need to focus on your wellbeing before you can help family members address their personal and collective issues.

Triggers and Temptations

Certain situations, events, or emotions can lead you to seek out alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. You might also find excitement in lowered inhibitions.

Anything from boredom to celebration to stress can trigger an addict or someone inclined to use drugs or alcohol to partake. Sheer curiosity or accessibility may be all it takes to go in that direction. Self-medicating for issues like depression and anxiety may seem like the only way to survive. Then there’s peer pressure, which can arise within families, leading to poor choices and no one to rely on for security or support.

Getting Help

Be proactive and prepared. If you are concerned that you may be headed in the same direction as a family member who has battled (or is currently battling) alcohol or drug addiction, address your fears immediately. Even the slightest hunch that your habits or preferences are worrisome or unhealthy is reason enough to seek help.

You may choose to speak with a counselor, your doctor, or a friend or family member you can confide in. Acknowledgement is an essential component for laying the groundwork towards sobriety.

Begin your journey toward a lifetime of sobriety at Beachside Rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida. We offer inpatient and outpatient detox, drug and alcohol rehab, and holistic recovery. Call 866-349-1770 to speak with one of our trained admissions counselors.