One issue that many people are concerned about when it comes to addiction risk is family history. They believe that if one person in the family has it, everyone else is at risk or destined to have issues with drugs or alcohol as well. This is not necessarily true. Family history alone does not predict one’s risk. Genetics are only one factor. Environment, mental health, and protective factors play a role as well.
Growing up in a household where one or more family members misuse drugs or alcohol can increase risk. It becomes a familiar situation that children see frequently and don’t know any differently. It can also increase access to these substances and the potential for experimentation at an early age. But there are ways to combat these negative influences with more positive ones.
- Educate yourself: Learn about addiction and its risks. Understand what risk factors exist in your own life, whether it’s genetics, your social environment, family influence, health problems, or other factors. This can help you to be proactive in creating a healthier, safer environment for yourself.
- Engage in healthy routines: Find healthy ways to reduce stress and anxiety and fight off depression. Head to the gym, join a club, listen to your favorite music, or curl up with a good book. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep each night to allow your body to rest and recover.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol: If you’re concerned about your ability to control your drinking or steer clear of drugs, remove the temptation. Find a non-alcoholic drink you enjoy when going out and natural methods for managing pain and stress such as meditation, yoga, or holistic healing. Be confident in your decision not to engage in substance use and spend time with friends who respect that.
- Seek counseling: Find someone to talk to about your concerns who can help you develop a plan to reduce your risk. Join a support group for families with loved ones in active addiction or addiction recovery. You already have something in common and can lean on one another for support and guidance.
- Establish healthy boundaries: If a loved one does have an addiction problem, set boundaries to support their recovery and your own well-being. Remember that you are in control of your own actions and decisions. Create a substance-free environment and know where to turn should you need help.
Surrounding yourself with people who are a positive influence and make you feel good about yourself can help you reduce your risk of addiction. Simply being aware that the risk exists and there is a family history can help you to be more proactive and alert to warning signs or risk factors. Just because a loved one is struggling with addiction does not mean that you have to follow the same path. You can take steps to prevent addiction and build a healthier lifestyle free from substance use.
If you do find that your drinking or drug use is becoming problematic, seek treatment before things become worse. Encourage loved ones to seek treatment as well and turn their lives around for the better. Addiction can be a tough topic to face, but talking about it can reduce stigmas and break down barriers when it comes to getting people the help they need and increasing preventive measures. If a substance use disorder is affecting your life – whether it be you or a loved one – Crossroads can help. Through a variety of residential and outpatient treatment programs, clients can embrace recovery and overcome addiction. There is hope and help is available.Crossroads offers support not only for clients but for their families as well. Learn more by giving us a call today.