The notion that addiction is born only out of traumatic events or times of crisis is one that disregards the invisible forces that can drive someone to substance addiction. One of the most impactful of these silent sources of predisposition is the passing down of genes that carry behavior and mental compositions that easily fall victim to addiction.

What Does Hereditary Mean?

A condition or trait being hereditary means that it is passed down from parents to offspring, often times being given to them from their parents as well. Having a cycle of addiction being passed down within a family can make getting help internally a struggle, at times driving substance abusers even further down the rabbit hole of addiction.

Just like physical traits such as bone structure and hair color, a person’s behavior and risk for certain medical conditions are also rooted in the genes they are passed at birth. Since addiction can be driven by both environment and genetics, hereditary addiction is even more concerning as breaking the cycle of generational substance abuse can seem insurmountable.

How Common Is Hereditary Addiction?

The frequency in which addictive traits and dispositions are passed on depends on the drug used as some impact your body more than others. Here is a quick breakdown of the data present in the study linked above, from most to least likely to be hereditary by percentage:

  1. Cocaine – 72%
  2. Opiates – 70%
  3. Alcohol – 55%
  4. Sedatives – 50%
  5. Marijuana – 41%
  6. Hallucinogens – 39%

As you can see, the “harder” a drug is the more likely it is to be part of the genetic dispositions of any offspring had by the user. There are many factors that contribute to this discrepancy between heritability such as how addictive the substance is, how physically dependent a user can become and how long the substance was abused and at what quantity.

Hereditary Genes Aren’t the Only Parental Contributor

While there is conclusive evidence that addiction can be passed down through genes, it’s best to remember that environmental impacts also play a role. Peer pressure from sources outside of the home are difficult to control, it’s the environment created back at home that has the final say in what sticks with a child as they grow up.

Parents that suffer from drug or alcohol addiction often see little to no issue with using these substances either in the presence of their children or returning after becoming intoxicated. Turning these actions into normal occurrences for a child of addiction only serves to enable their predispositions and can cause initial drug use to happen as early as 12 years old.

Intervention Can Help Stop Generations of Addiction

It doesn’t matter which point in the life of addiction someone is, it’s never too late to break the cycle of genetic addiction by getting treatment focusing on breaking dependency. Whether it’s you or someone you care about that’s facing the struggles of addiction, the team at America’s Rehab Campuses can match clients with a custom treatment plan that fits into their schedule and life.

Reach out today for a confidential consultation and see how ARC can help you regain freedom from substance abuse and addiction.