Substance Abuse Across Generations
Addiction can run in the family. It has gone from being a myth to a scientifically proven fact. It is common to find substance abuse among different generations within the same family tree.
Many factors play a role in whether a person becomes a drug addict, and genetics is one of them. However, just because alcoholism or drug abuse runs in your family doesn’t mean you have no choice but to suffer through it.
Substances used and the method of abusing them changes over time. Simultaneously, the predisposition for addictive behavior that may run in the family is considered a leading cause of substance dependency. Over time, drug use statistics show that those coming from families with multiple addicts are at a higher risk of developing problems with substance abuse themselves.
Even if you come from a line of generational substance abusers, there is help available for you and your loved ones. Call us a call today at 614-502-6247 and be connected with recovery experts versed in inherited substance abuse difficulties. You are capable of breaking the cycle of generational substance abuse and controlling your destiny!
Continue reading for more information about how substance abuse travels through generations. If you require more information then please reach out to our specialists today.
The Risks of Addiction and Parenting
Unfortunately, children raised by parents with substance abuse issues are at a higher risk of continuing a cycle of abuse in their own families. Children may see their parents making poor choices and learn to behave that way as well. Someone raising a child amidst their struggles may not be as present in their kids’ day-to-day lives. If there is a lack of engagement and positive reinforcement, it can have damaging effects.
The child of an addict could suffer from a lack of structure. If they are already at a genetic disadvantage for acquiring a SUD, this has the potential to send them down the wrong path. Even introducing fundamental differences between right and wrong might not happen from a young age.
Research suggests that parents with SUDs may be excessive in punishing children, potentially not offering the nurturing environment necessary for a healthy life.
Parents should always remember that they serve as role models to their children. When neglecting a child, they may develop poor social skills or struggle in school, leading to substance issues further down the road.
Data also suggest that exposing children to alcoholism in their life are three times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder. Those that experience additional substance abuse in their families are twice as likely to develop a similar drug use disorder.
Again, many factors play a role in addiction. The quality of the environment in which a person remains the most influential.
Drug Usage By Age
Tobacco products and alcohol are the drugs most commonly used by young people. Abusing these substances during adolescence can open the door to further drug experimentation.
Pre-teens are also susceptible to inhalant abuse. These can be everyday household items like glues or cleaning supplies. As children age, they are more likely (in teenage years) to begin experimenting with prescription medications. Substance abuse of stimulants like Adderall or opiates such as Vicodin is unfortunately common. At a young age, prescription drug use can quickly become a full-blown addiction if not addressed early in the process.
The likelihood of prescription drug use and accessibility continues to increase as a person ages. The drug use statistics over time reflect how changes in substance abuse among different generations occur. While an estimated 45.8% of the U.S. population in 2015-16 used prescription drugs within the last month, the average use dramatically increases as one age. 18% of children under the age of 12 had used a prescription during the study’s timeframe, while 85% of adults 60 and older had taken prescription medicine.
Individuals with substance abuse problems have trouble controlling their impulses, even when it leads to adverse outcomes. Inhibitory control suffers, which means people lose the ability to regulate their impulses over time.
While the common drugs used by each generation changes as people age, their compulsion to use can remain the same without intervening rehabilitative services. If you are struggling with drug addiction, remember that you are not alone. We are here to help you through these hard times. Call us today and we can help you start living your healthiest life.
The Effects of Early Substance Use
Adolescents can be susceptible to substance abuse due to their home environment and the undeveloped nature of their brains.
Adolescent brains are brains that are still growing. Many areas of the mind associated with motivation and emotional processing do not develop until well into adulthood. This development means pre-teens and teenagers that have access to drugs and alcohol are a high risk for developing a SUD.
Prolonged substance abuse injures the brain, and coupled with other disorders like hyperactivity. It can make a person more prone to relapse. Even teens without any of the risk factors associated with early substance abuse can fall victim to drugs and alcohol simply because their peers pressured them into getting high or drunk.
The earlier a drug is smoked or injected, the higher the chances of developing a full-blown drug addiction. Not only is the brain not fully developed and thus easily affected by use, but smoking and IV use also affect it the most powerfully. These delivery methods cause the intoxicating effects to sweep over the body in seconds, and the high can end just as quickly. An adolescent brain can become altered promptly by these drugs, acclimated to the rushes, and create a brief substance dependency period.
Another factor in drug abuse over the years is that many drugs have become more potent.
As education increases about drug manufacturing and production, substances like cannabis are much stronger than the product grown in decades past. Meth “cooks” and those manufacturing cocaine have also evolved their methods over the years to create denser, faster-acting drugs, which increases the likelihood of addiction dramatically.
The earlier a young person has access to drugs, mostly modern, potent variety, the more the risk-level increases. Recognizing potential problems early on can help fight addiction before it becomes too severe.
The Role of Genetics in Addiction
The primary reason substance abuse runs in families is that addiction carries a genetic component.
A study in 2018 showed that at some point, an RNA retrovirus called HK2 inserted itself into human genes. It’s intermingling with our genetic data affected a gene in charge of dopamine regulation. It is this alteration that changes the brain’s natural reward system. People possessing this genetic variance have a more genuine desire to become dependent on substances.
It is also possible that genetic variances within ethnic groups may play a role in the potential for substance abuse. However, the evidence for this is inconclusive, and researchers are still studying the findings. The environment affects genes, and cultural differences like social expectations, socioeconomics, and stress can make up about 40 to 60 percent of a person’s risk for developing an addiction.
In other words, the environment combined with a genetic predisposition for addiction can more than double your chances of developing an addiction. Even though drug use habits have changed over the years, the rate of substance abuse among different generations has biological and environmental causations.
Gender Can Play a Role
A person’s natural cortisol ratio can also affect their ability to resist substances and prevent relapse. Cortisol builds in the brain due to stress, and too much cortisol can cause brain damage by influencing neurotransmitters and synapses. A person under pressure is more likely to abuse a substance than someone who is not frequently stressed.
Even gender can play a role. Men are statistically more likely than women to abuse drugs and alcohol, involving brain physiology and composition.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that genetics alone do not determine if a person will eventually develop a substance abuse disorder. Are you struggling with addiction? Do you know someone that is? No matter the situation, call us today. Our experts can help you with your struggles today. Do not hesitate to call.
You Are Still In Control of Your Future
The substance abuse that runs through families has biological and environmental roots, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t change the course of your family’s history.
Generational substance abuse is a genetically inherited factor. However, these predispositions don’t mean you have to repeat past failures or that your children are doomed to become substance abusers.
Just as types of drugs evolve with age, and the most common drugs by generation shifts over time, you can dig your heels in and stop the continued progression of addiction in your family. Predisposition doesn’t mean future behavior is someone’s destiny. Some professionals can help you prevent addiction in its tracks.
Substance abuse among different generations may be familiar, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence, nor do you have to submit just because addiction is prevalent. You have the power to manipulate influences and break the curse of addiction.
Substance abuse may be challenging to overcome. However, several programs can help. Call us today to find out more about your area’s recovery options that will allow you to start changing your life. Everyone deserves a fresh start, and you can begin writing your own success story today.
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