There are dozens of variables that go towards explaining why someone might feel drawn to substance abuse and addiction. However, one of the biggest questions about addiction comes from parents, as many ponder if drug addiction is hereditary.
There’s no cut-and-dry, black-and-white answer here. But you can somewhat answer the question and form your own opinions by reading up on the following five things you should know about addiction and recreational drug use. Just bear in mind that research, knowledge, and keeping an open mind are the best ways to formulate your answers to the conundrum of addiction—so says numerous cocaine rehabilitation centers and other substance rehab facilities.
Genetics Could Have a Role in Substance Abuse and Addiction
Nature versus nurture is a hard-fought and long battle of questions that science hasn’t been able to completely answer. However, science has discovered that nearly 50-percent of genetics could lead to someone having an addictive personality, making them predisposed to addiction of illegal or dangerous substances in their lifetime.
Why? Genetics evolve as humans do. Ergo, if you have a long history of addiction in your family, the odds are greater that children from that family will be born with slightly altered brain chemistry. This means that the portion of their brain that deals with addictive behavior has shifted to allow for a more obsessive outlook.
However, while genetics play a role, they aren’t an excuse for addiction.
Children of Addicts Have a Harder Time Saying No to Drugs and Addiction Later in Life
Another example of nature versus nurture in addiction is when children are raised in an addictive environment. For instance, their mom is addicted to drugs, their father is an alcoholic, and they are constantly around the habit-addicted friends and families of both parents. This leads a child to believe that addiction is normal, and that belief can manifest in their own addictive behavior later in life.
Some serious addicts have noted that their addictions began at home when they saw mom, dad, uncle, or whoever use drugs or alcohol to numb everyday stresses. Hence, children born and raised in an environment of addicts find it harder to say no to drugs and alcohol as adults with stresses of their own.
On another note, parents or loved ones that make the effort to go through treatment, like cocaine addiction treatment, and stick with it, are often put into a new light as brave or courageous by their loved ones. This helps reverse addictive behavior for others in that environment.
One Drug or Addictive Behavior Opens the Door to Another
There is such a thing as gateway drugs, but the addiction aspect usually depends on the self-control and vulnerability of a person. Some people can take one drug one time and drop them for the rest of their life. Whereas, others that are prone to addictive behavior will start with one substance, then chase that feel-good high from one drug to another in a never-ending cycle.
Addictive behavior begets addictive behavior. Those that are known to cycle from one thing to another in other aspects of their life are commonly more likely to jump from one substance to another if addiction invades their everyday routine.
Your Genetics and Childhood Environment DO NOT Have to Determine Who You Are
Some people might look at this information and determine they can’t change their genetics and childhood environment, so they must be doomed to become an addict. That’s simply not true. Your destiny is entirely your own, regardless of who you were brought up by, who you were around, and what your genetics say about your past.
If you were raised around addiction or born into it, you can 100-percent change that about yourself. Don’t think that you have to follow the same path just because you are predisposed to addictive behaviors. At the end of the day, you make your own choices, deal with your own consequences, and can be and achieve whoever you want to be and achieve.
Genetics and childhood environment can shape you, yes, but they don’t get to determine who you are as a whole. Only you can do that.
Coping Skills Can be as Hereditary as Addictive Behavior
Sometimes genetics and childhood environment go beyond parents. Perhaps your aunts and uncles were addicts. Or, maybe your grandparents had problems with substance abuse. It takes years of genetics for addictive behavior to become prevalent in your DNA.
That said, coping skills can be passed on in the same ways that behaviors can be passed down. For example, if your parents had to adapt to an addiction-riddled childhood environment, they will likely pass their coping mechanisms down to you. This allows you to navigate addictive behaviors and make better choices for yourself as an adult.