Family History and Substance Abuse

Although substance abuse can arise from various factors, family history and substance abuse often come hand in hand.

While many fail to realise it, family history is one of the leading causes that an individual may experience substance abuse at some point in their life.

If you are reading this, you may be curious to determine how family history impacts substance abuse. You may also find yourself wondering whether your family’s history will see you more prone to experience substance abuse.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Before delving into family history and the impact it has on substance abuse, it is essential to understand what substance abuse is.

As defined by the World Health Organisation, substance abuse refers to the consumption of harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol.

Whether they are used to reduce pessimistic thoughts and feelings or alleviate mental health disorders, drugs and alcohol are often administered as a form of self-medication.

What Impact Does Family History Have on Substance Abuse?

Uncovering the factors that contribute to substance abuse and addictions is a vital part of recovery. Through the employment of therapy, individuals have the opportunity to delve into their past to determine what has caused their addiction to arise.

As many believe that stress and mental health disorders are to blame, family history is typically overlooked. However, those battling addictions often come to realise that family history and substance abuse comes hand in hand.

Below, we have outlined how family history can influence substance abuse.

Family History and Substance Abuse Increases the Likelihood of Children Suffering from Addictions Later in Life

As stated by Public Health England, exposure to parental substance abuse is often associated with substance abuse in those under the age of 18.

This is further supported by research that highlights children who have witnessed their parents struggle with substance abuse are eight times more likely to suffer from an addiction themselves.

Family History and Substance Abuse Puts Individuals at Risk of Developing Mental Health Conditions Which Lead to Addictions

In some instances, substance abuse does not directly impact the development of addictions in children or young adults. However, watching a parent endure substance abuse can lead to the development of mental health disorders.

Individuals that are exposed to drugs and alcohol from a young age may have been required to care for an individual experiencing substance abuse. In worst-case scenarios, they may have been the victim of physical or emotional abuse.

Later in life, this could cause them to experience post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. As a mental health disorder arises, substances may be used to numb any unwelcome thoughts or feelings. This can heighten the chances of an addiction occurring.

Family History and Substance Abuse May Leave Individuals to Believe That Substance Abuse is Normal

Individuals that have witnessed their loved ones turning to substances to combat stress or mitigate unwanted feelings may believe that this is entirely normal.

If a child is raised in a household that uses substances to alleviate any pessimistic thoughts or feelings, they are more likely to use substances as a coping mechanism as they progress through life.

Genetics Account for Almost Half of Addictions Experienced

Many studies have determined that genetics account for 50% of addictions. Women that abuse substances throughout pregnancy put their unborn children at risk of prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol.

This increases the likelihood that an individual will have a greater genetic risk of suffering from an alcohol addiction later in life.

Can Substance Abuse Be Prevented?

Although family history is known to influence the likelihood that an individual will suffer from substance abuse, it is essential to remember that substance abuse can be evaded.

Just because a parent, grandparent or sibling has suffered from substance abuse, does not automatically mean that you will.

If you are hoping to prevent substance abuse from impairing your own life, it is essential to ensure that you find an outlet that will help you to deal with any pressure, stress or negative thoughts that you encounter. This could be as simple as exercising or could involve seeking therapy.

If you have a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, you must seek help for this. As touched on above, mental health disorders can heighten the risk of substance abuse and addictions, especially if these factors are present in your family history.

Discussing your mental health with a professional can help minimise the feelings associated, in turn reducing your chances of encountering substance abuse.

What If I Already Suffer from Substance Abuse?

If you have come to realise that you have an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol, you must seek professional support sooner rather than later.

If you are suffering from substance abuse, at Step One Recovery, we can support you. We provide drug and alcohol treatment to individuals across the United Kingdom and Europe through the use of our residential treatment centres.

If rehab is in your best interest, you will undergo a personalised treatment programme that will see you withdraw from drugs or alcohol. You will also obtain therapy to help you overcome the factors that have contributed to your addiction.

How Do I Seek Support?

If you believe that seeking support for substance abuse is in your best interest, we can aid your recovery regardless of your location in the United Kingdom.

Obtaining our support is relatively easy. All that you need to do is call us on 0800 012 6006. When you contact us, we will ask you various questions. These questions will provide us with an understanding of your addiction, your family history and the severity of your addiction.

Upon listening to you, we will have the ability to recommend treatment and provide a suitable rehabilitation facility for you to overcome your addiction.

What If Someone I Know Needs Help?

If someone you know, such as a parent, is battling with substance abuse, we can support you in referring them for life-saving rehabilitation.

All you need to do is give us a call and we will take care of the rest.