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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Is thier a genetic link in addiction?

                   This question is very confusing to me, do you think that addcition runs in familys? I grew up in a stable family, no drugs, no smoking, no drinking. I also was brought up & raised thinking that my moms husband was my bio dad, long story short, I find out when Im 19 that he is not my bio dad, so I decide to find my father at the age of 25, I knew he was in the marines & had his full name & knew what state he lived in so I contacted the milatary, turns out they wouldnt give me any info on him but they did say that I could write a letter to them & they in turn would forward it to him, so a month goes by & I get a phone call, its him!! I of course am beside myself, happy, scared, you name it I was feeling it. And we finally meet in person & he is nothing like my mom described, of course its 26 years later & people do change. At anyrate we start getting to know each other & I find out he is a recovering addict & a alcoholic, & he had 3 other children who have also had issues with drug abuse, one of them his oldest son died from a heroin overdose.  Just wanted to know if anyone thinks thiers a genetic link ? Penelope
16 Responses
Avatar universal
I do, many workahilics are the children of alcoholics, drug addicts, or what have you and vise versa. You can switch the switch aroung the prefix to holic and see in many cases it does run in the family
390416 tn?1275188687
Yes..there is a genetic link. So..I'm talking about it w/ my kids already..I am a recovering alcoholic..so they grew up in a house of recovery... then for the 3 yrs. i did pills...they didn' tknow..but my son(13) is ADHD and if he doesn't take his meds for the wk.end..(when he goes to his dad's)..he starts experiencing wds...we have talked about that...of course, i never put the two together until I was trying to get clean off the pills...so that was good lead into talking about drug addiction and how it can ruin your life.
371980 tn?1276744409
Yes it does run in families. Both my parents are/were addicts, my grandfather, etc. I was once told by a doctor while my mom was in rehab that I had a 50/50 chance of being an addict cuz of family histoy and i thought ..no way!! But look at where i am now..a recovering addict at 32 yrs. old.
410221 tn?1227635437
Yes, you are more at a risk if there is addiction in your family. I think sometimes we place all the blame on addictive parents or other family members when we make the choices to abuse. I would never use my father as my cruch but I am aware of how alcohol controled his life and death. There is just a difference in our brains that when we try a drug or alcohol we have a harder time turning away from it and can abuse it if we are not very aware.
My father was an alcoholic, drank himself into a coma and died at 53 years old. I think he is the only one in my family but there is a lot depression in my family and that is where my issues came from I believe.
Avatar universal
But genetic or not, if we never take that step into insanity ( such as using too many meds ect) then no worries, So I think there is a propensity, but we are not doomed. if that makes sense. I believe  when we use it triggers something that  it doesnt in "normal" people. My dear departed mother had kidney stones, and was prescribed vicodan, she also had cancer. Never once did I see her abuse the vicodan, she took them ONLY when her stones hurt, she would go weeks with a full bottle and then just take one. I could never understand how she did it. My Father was a different story long time drinker ect... So I have seen people that can take pain meds as prescribed (in fact much less) and then stop when they are not in pain. Being the worthless person I was I would ask her for a pill here and there for a "headache" or whatever. My 2 cents. good luck
429432 tn?1343597790
I have no doubt drug addiction and alcoholism is genetic. . But you can break the cycle of  these things if you choose to. We just have to work a little harder at it.
352798 tn?1399301754
Knowledge is power. Yes there is a link to heredity and addictions. Just means we have to set ourselves against this even more. There are a lot of studies on alcoholism but I haven't seen much on drugs.
Avatar universal
both my mom and dad were alcoholic's. I have five brothers and sisters and we have all had addiction problems three of five have been addicted to pills so yes i think addiction runs int he family.
Avatar universal
I posed this question to a pediatrician I have the utmost respect for. (he was chief Resident at Johns Hopkins when he did his residency, and one of the most intelligent men Ive ever met) He told me that he subscribes to the 50/50 theory. 50 percent is heredity and 50 percent environment. My son is the child of 2 addicts, even though I didnt get addicted to pills til my 40's. His dad was an addict and alcoholic since his teens, clean now about 15 years except for one bad relapse.
I worry alot about my son and drugs, and Ive raised him to know the dangers. (too bad I DIDNT know about how addictive opiates are when I started taking them for pain)
We can only hope for the best. I wish I had a better answer, but that is what I know to tell you.
Peace~
468830 tn?1246112822
I believe that addiction is somewhat genetic.  I had 22 uncles, and 2/3 of them were alcoholics.  I have a very addictive personality, and was a gambling addict, and my kids' dad was an alcoholic.  I was reading my family tree, and history says that my great-great grandfather died from falling off his horse when coming home from town drunk in the early 1900's, so guess it goes back a ways.  I've always warned my two sons, and really been worried that they will become addicts of some sort.  My oldest son is a severe diabetic, and has been an alcoholic, and is currently also a meth addict, takes Zoloft, Xanax, Aterol, drinks bottles of Nyquil, Lithium, and I'm not sure what else for 16 yrs.  I really don't know how he's still alive.  It breaks my heart, but I've done involuntary commitments for him several times, and at this point, have exhausted all of my resources on help for him.  I wish I could have saved him from going down that path, and I sure tried.  He just watched his dad die from his kidneys and liver finally just saying "no more", but he's worse now than he's ever been, as he inherited a large sum of money to feed his addictions.  
My youngest son, after watching the decline and death of his father, and a brother he no longer recognizes, has gone the opposite direction, and stays away from drugs and alcohol.  So, to sum all of that up, I do think there is a genetic component, but all we can do is pray that our children have the wisdom and strength to fight the temptations we all face daily.
424839 tn?1268189846
Which biological factors increase risk of addiction?
Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's vulnerability to addiction, including the effects of environment on gene expression and function. Adolescents and individuals with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug abuse and addiction than the general population.


437415 tn?1211833156
Add another yes to the count.  Definately YES.
306867 tn?1299253309
Ok here's a weird one for ya.  My parents had no addictions except cigarettes,  but all 4 children are drug addicts.  My dad died at 36 so who knows maybe he would have become an addict.  My dad does have an identical twin brother and he's not an addict.  Maybe its in our gene's from some other relative.  Makes you wonder though with all my siblings and myself being addict's.  
Avatar universal
I definatly am a firm believer in you are a product of your environment.  

I watched both my parents drink excessively and their lack of attention due to hang overs, w/d's ect.....

You would think that a child that despised how their parents acted so much would stear clear of the same avenue but it seems you are more drawn to it after being exposed to substance abuse from adolecence to teen's.  

460948 tn?1232305722
My answer is YES as well. My mother was an alcoholic and my father was never addicted to anything. I spent my whole life thinking alcohol was bad so I stayed away from it except for social occassions once or twice per year. Then along came my medical issues and the world of opiates. I never even considered that I could or would become addicted to them, but here I am a full blown addict to opiates. I had been told that I had a 50/50 chance of being an addict, but I honestly thought that meant alcohol and not pills. Well apparently that's not true. I obviously have an addictive personality, just like my mother's entire side of the family. So yes I think it's hereditary!!
401095 tn?1351395370
I have parents who dont have any addictions...do not even drink...my grandmother had issues with alchol and so did both of my grandfathers.....but i was not exposed to it....dont know...I do think there is a genetic link to it and have also read that there is...then my x husband has no issues with addiction and neither do his brothers and their father was a raging alcoholic...my girlfriend has extreme addiction problems and battles it every day...mostly successfully after an alchol addiction then a narcotic addiction...5 years sober...2 months off the narcs..and she was drinking the other night...ouch...her mom died from alcholism and her dad was an alcholic too....her brother dies of a drug OD..the other 2 siblings have no addictions...she is on it tho...we are off to a meeting.....she abuses anything she gets her hands on.....good post
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