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Is Drug Addiction Genetic?

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The one thing that is certain about addiction is that it is not entirely understood. Countless hours have been spent in research labs and families, wondering why and how a person becomes addicted to drugs. Is drug addiction genetic? While researchers have found a genetic component to addiction, they have also found that it’s not the only factor. Addiction is a complex disease and requires a multi-faceted approach in treatment. At  Thrive Treatment, we understand addiction, we know how to treat it, and we’re here to help you. 

If I’m an Addict, Will My Child Be One?

When our children are young, we spend hours and hours looking at their faces and taking in their personalities.  We wonder aloud if he or she has mom’s nose, dad’s eyes, or grandma’s hair. But is drug addiction genetic? Yes and no. Will your child be an addict because you are an addict? Maybe, but not definitely. Most addiction professionals view addiction through what’s referred to as the biopsychosocial model. This model suggests that addiction occurs because of the combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. So, while yes, there is a genetic component to addiction, it is not the only component. 

Not every child of an addict becomes an addict, and not every addict is the child of an addict. While yes, it is not uncommon, it’s not a given. Environmental factors such as growing up in a house with active addiction, being the victim of trauma, and experiencing other adverse events in childhood increase the risk.  Social factors such as poor coping skills, lifestyle, and peer group will also impact addiction risk. Psychological factors, such as social skills and interpersonal relationships, will also affect your child’s risk of becoming an addict. 

So, while, yes, your being an addict is a risk factor for your child to become an addict, it is not the only factor. Talk to your child early and often about the risks of using drugs and alcohol. Be honest in an age-appropriate way and help them understand that they are at a higher risk for addiction. 

What Do I Do if I Think My Child Is Suffering From Addiction?

If you are in recovery and you think your child is suffering from addiction, you will find that you are in an interesting predicament. You know how you got sober, but you may also see that you didn’t listen much to those around you while being active in your addiction. Loving an addict is a tough road and is even more challenging when it’s your child. So, what do you do? Well, you start by sharing your experience with them because no one understands an addict like an addict. While we usually don’t want to talk to our children about our suffering, this is the time to share. Remember back to your early days and how knowing that you were not alone helped you. Talk to them about treatment and, if they’re willing, help them find it. If they’re not ready, then it might be time for you to set some hard boundaries around their drug use. 

Get Help Today at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to help you succeed in sobriety.  Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we integrate relational and behavioral therapies. We believe in a holistic approach and utilize holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety and overall well-being.  If you find yourself addicted to drugs and alcohol, we’re here to help. We can provide you with a tailored plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

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