Addiction and Genetics

Scientific studies have shown that children who have parents with chemical dependency issues are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol or drug problems. But drug and alcohol dependence is not solely determined by genes inherited from parents. There are many other factors that influence one’s risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem. According to research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a person’s risk increases if he or she comes from a family where:

• Both parents abuse alcohol and other drugs
• An alcoholic parent is depressed or has other psychological problems
• Parents’ alcohol abuse is severe
• Family conflicts lead to aggression and violence

If there is a pattern of drug and alcohol addiction in your family, here are some tips to consider:

• Delay or avoid using alcohol or drugs
• Talk to your children about your family’s history and explain the risks
• Do not misuse prescription medication
• Talk to a healthcare professional about your options for prevention