Substance abuse impacts families every year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1) roughly 23.5 million Americans abuse drugs or alcohol each year. If a loved one abuses drugs or alcohol, then family history of substance abuse plays a role in the development and continuation of an addiction.
Learning about the factors that contribute to the development of an addiction provides an opportunity to encourage a treatment program.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2) states that family history and a genetic predisposition plays a role in the development of an addiction roughly 40 to 60 percent of the time. Certain addictions, like alcohol and cigarette addictions, often run in families.
When close family member’s abuse drugs or alcohol, the risk of substance abuse among other members of the family is higher than the average risk in the general population. Although genetic factors impact the risk of addiction, Psychology Today (3) points out that there is no single gene that causes addiction. Several genes and protective factors combine to create a predisposition or cause a lower than average risk of addiction.
If a loved one abuses drugs or alcohol, then the problem does not always stem from family history. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (4), relapse occurs when an individual attempts to stop using a substance and then starts using it again in the future.
Treating an addiction provides a chance to start obtaining recovery goals and regaining personal health; however, the possibility of relapsing in the future is higher than the average population.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (5) estimates that 40 to 60 percent of individuals in recovery will relapse at least one time before they obtain and maintain their long-term recovery goals.
If a loved one abused drugs or alcohol in the past, then he or she may relapse on the substance in the future. Although personal history does impact substance abuse, a relapse does not occur in every situation.
Selecting a Treatment Program
Addiction recovery focuses on the underlying causes of substance abuse and the individual’s specific goals. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (6) explains that an effective treatment program focuses on long-term goals, creates a personalized treatment plan and helps with multiple problems that are not necessarily related to an addiction.
For example, a treatment program may offer medical check-ups and treatments that are appropriate for health concerns as well as the treatments for the substance abuse.
Select a treatment program that specifically addresses historical factors when a loved one abuses drugs or alcohol. A family history of substance abuse requires an active treatment plan that focuses on relapse prevention and the underlying genetic factors.
When personal history of substance abuse results in a relapse, encourage a treatment program that has the tools to help a loved one get back on track and that a sets a stronger foundation for the future.
Treating an addiction requires an active approach to the recovery process. History does not change, but treatment programs offer relapse prevention tools and options to limit the risks of dangerous behaviors in the future.
By addressing the risks associated with family and personal history, your loved one will have the opportunity to start fresh and work toward a healthy and active future.
- DrugFacts: Treatment Statistics, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, March 2011, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-statistics
- Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2008, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/addiction-science/genes-environment-comorbidity/studies-have-shown-40-60-percent-predisposition-to-addiction-can
- Rubin Khoddam, M.A., The Family History of Addiction, Psychology Today, June 24, 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-addiction-connection/201406/the-family-history-addiction
- What is Relapse?, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, http://www.easyread.drugabuse.gov/what-is-relapse.php
- Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2008, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/addiction-science/relapse/relapse-rates-drug-addiction-are-similar-to-those-other-well-characterized-chronic-ill
- DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 2009, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction