Children born into families with a history of addiction or abuse are at increased risks for substance use disorders later in life. They must overcome genetic predispositions, familial influences and chaotic environments. The odds are against them, and the statistics say most of them are destined to become addicts. But some children, despite all obstacles in their path, overcome the odds and live a life free of addiction.
Some children are born with so many risk factors for addiction it would seem they’re predetermined to become addicts. But most experts agree no combination of variables will condemn a person to a life of addiction. Rather, each risk factor increases their chances of trying drugs and getting hooked.
The one major risk factor that shows up time and time again is stress. If you’re in an environment as a child or adolescent with very high stress, regardless of what’s causing the stress, then your likelihood of turning to drugs of abuse during your life goes up substantially.
Some people are genetically predisposed to be more susceptible to addiction. Despite the myth that addiction is a choice, science doesn’t lie. Decades of research prove drug addiction runs in families.
Limiting exposure to traumatic, dangerous and stressful situations is also key.
If there’s some way to get in there and either diminish the stress exposure that an individual is going through or help them build stress management skills, then you have already pushed them down the path away from substance use in a major, major way.
If you have a family history of addiction to drugs including alcohol, you can be one of the resilient individuals by making a conscience effort to:
- No one is destined for addiction.
- Everyone controls their own life.
- It takes more work for some people than others, but addiction is a preventable and curable disease.
- The temptation may never go away, and it won’t always be easy.
- But everyone can control their own fate if they just keep trying.
- Ready to make a change?
Parents who know they have a family history of addiction can decrease their child’s risk for addiction by taking several actions:
- Set an example by avoiding alcohol or drug use in front of children.
- Communicate strong, clear messages about the dangers of alcohol and drug use.
- Keep alcohol and drugs away from the home.
- Learn about their friends and their attitudes on drugs.
- Talk to the parents of their friends about anti-drug messages.
- Chaperone or supervise social functions to ensure drugs are not present.
- Introduce them to healthy activities and hobbies.