Addiction treatment professionals have long cautioned parents and children that addiction is a disease and can be passed down to other family members. The extent to which substance abuse dependency can affect offspring has always been in question, as there are learned behaviors as well as genetic factors that formulate the risk of the pattern repeating with a new generation.
Research suggests that children who are born to a family with one immediate relative that suffers from a drug or alcohol problem are eight times more likely to develop a similar problem later on life. This compelling information points to a greater need for education and prevention, including being able to identify and address other risk factors that could act as triggers.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 12% of U.S. children live in a household where one or person is an addict. Further data shows that there are at least 28 million Americans who are children of alcoholics.
“This doesn’t mean it’s certain that a child of addicted parents will become addicted. But, what the studies do show is that since addiction has a genetic component, children of addicted parents are predisposed to the disease – just as they would be if their parent had heart disease or diabetes,” explained David Bohl, a program operator in Illinois.
However, unlike many other hereditary diseases, children have a much greater chance of avoiding substance abuse issues for themselves. If they are aware that these problems exist within their family they have the ability to break the chain through conscious effort. Understanding how binge drinking and drug experimentation can lead to abuse is an important part of breaking that chain.
For people who do get caught up in repeating the cycle, there is help available. Contact Addiction Treatment Services for information about effective rehabilitation programs and intervention services today.
A group of researchers at Indiana University are studying the effect that gender and environment have on drug abuse. The study examined men and women to see the effects that gender, social environment and genetics had on drug addiction. The results of the study indicated that there is a definite link between the three areas of study and drug abuse.
While scientists have known for a long time that gender plays an important role in the type of experiences a person has, it was interesting for researchers to add in the element of genetics. Men and women go about their day differently, get treated by their families differently, have different responsibilities and have different ailments that they are predisposed to. Taking all of this into account, researchers looked at the different sex’s susceptibility to drug use. For instance, men who have strong ties to their families and who are protected by their families are less likely to abuse drugs. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to abuse drugs if they are sheltered by their families. The data gathered indicates that women have too many pressures on them when they are isolated like that and can resort to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanism.
“It is likely that gene-environment interactions may operate differently for men and women, perhaps because they experience some aspects of the social world in divergent ways. In families and communities, for example, women often bear more responsibility for developing and maintaining relationships, and do more of the care work that is required in those contexts. We cannot assume that a social environment that is favorable for men, and thus reduces the harmful impact of a risky genotype, is also beneficial for women, or vice versa,” explained Brea Perry, medical sociologist and lead researcher of the study.
The conclusion of the study was important because it shows people that men and women respond to environmental factors differently. While genes and gender play a large role in determining a person’s susceptibility to drug use, environment factors play an equally large role as well.
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