Family History & Addiction Risk

Having a family history of addiction may feel like a curse. It may be scary. You might feel like you will end up with an addiction as well. The truth is many people who have a family history of addiction do end up with an addiction themselves. However, this is not always the case. Genetic predisposition is not the only factor for addiction and you can prevent an addiction. One of the ways you can do this is through proper personal health management.

Taking drugs of any kind, even prescription pain medications, can increase your risk of an addiction. There is a drug epidemic in the United States and the numbers have skyrocketed over the past years in many locations. From 1999 to 2016, over 200,000 people died from overdosing on prescription opiates. Many prescription drugs are extremely addictive. You can’t change your predisposition to addiction. However, you can avoid taking drugs unless absolutely necessary and then even with precautions. You can also do many others things to take care of yourself and reduce your risk of developing an addiction.

Find Out More About Your Family History

You may have heard about addiction in your family. Maybe you even have first-hand experience of someone in your family who has an addiction. However, it can be helpful to find out even more about your family history. Talk to your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents. Ask them who has had an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Even if someone hasn’t been diagnosed by a professional or gotten addiction rehab help, it doesn’t mean they don’t have an addiction. Some people may not want to share or even admit they have an addiction. However, you can ask stories about your family’s drug or alcohol use. By hearing their stories, you can probably tell a bit more of whether they have an addiction or not. With a family history of addiction, you should be more careful about which medications you take.

Limit Your Use of Drugs and Alcohol

Another way to take better care of yourself is to limit your use of drugs or alcohol. Whether you have a family history of addiction or not, reducing your use of these substances is a good idea. Both alcohol and many types of drugs can be dangerous. Even if you don’t think there is a chance you will become addicted to them, it could happen. If you do drink, keep it at one or two. If you are going to take prescription medications, do so according to the doctor’s orders, and take the medication for a short period of time. By limiting your use of drugs or alcohol, you can reduce your risk of developing an addiction.

Telling Your Doctors About the History in Your Family

It is very important that you let your doctors know about the history in your family. They should know who in your family has had an addiction to drugs or alcohol. You should tell your doctors what drugs someone in your family was addicted to as well. With a family history of addiction, your doctor will be more cautious about what they prescribe you. If you are dealing with pain, for instance, they may help you find more holistic ways of managing the pain. The hope is the holistic techniques will work, so you won’t need prescription drugs. It is important to know there is always a risk when taking prescription drugs or drinking. Let your doctor know the history in your family, just to be safe.

Let Your Children Know About the Risks

As you want to protect yourself from an addiction, if you have children you want to do the same for them as well. Talk to them about alcohol and drugs. Teach them all about the risks involved, side effects, overdosing, and more. Make sure you open up the dialogue. Let them know you are there for them if they ever want to talk. Children have a lot of pressure at school and sometimes in their family as well. They need to know you are a safe person they can talk to if they need help. Talk to your children early. There are many guidelines on how to talk to children of all ages about alcohol, drugs, and addiction.

Let Your Partner Know About the Family History

It is never a good idea to keep your family history of addiction from your partner. If you plan on building a life together with this person, you should be open with them about your family history. If you keep that information from your partner, it could cause serious problems later on. Let them know about your concerns and they can help to support you. If they accept your family’s history and continue to be there for you, the relationship can continue stronger than before.

You don’t have to let your partner know about the family history in the first few dates. However, once you feel the relationship is getting past the first parts of the dating stage, that might be a good time to have this conversation with them. Ask them about their family history as well. You may find out things you didn’t know as well.

If you have a family history of addiction, you don’t have to become an addict yourself. There are many precautions you can take to care for yourself. You can also use these tips to help prevent an addiction in your children and to improve your relationships as well. It can be troubling when you have a family history of addiction. However, with these 5 tips for self-care, you can manage your life better and worry less too.

If you have already developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are treatment centers that can help. Once you overcome the addiction, you can move forward with your life and take better care of yourself from there as well.


Don’t let a family history of addiction bring you down.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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