Addiction is a Family Disease

Addiction is a Family Disease

Did you know that hereditary factors play a large role in whether or not you will become an addict during your lifetime? Understanding that addiction is a family disease can help inform treatment. Speaking of family — have you ever thought about the importance of including them in your treatment process? Let’s take a look at how genetics play a role in addiction and how those related to you can help support you during your treatment. 

Genetics and Addiction

Your genes play a large role in why addiction is a family disease. If one or both of your biological parents have had issues with addiction, you are much more likely to have some form of addiction yourself. 

Those in the field of neuropsychology work hard to find out what exactly makes us tick when it comes to substances, why some of us become addicted while others do not, and how likely you are to develop a substance addiction based on your genetics and environment (epigenetics). 

To put this into an example, let’s say addiction is prevalent on your mother’s side of the family. Simply due to this factor, you are predisposed to inheriting the addiction genes. This does not mean, however, that the likelihood that you will become an addict is 100%; but there is a high possibility that you will transition from a user to an addict.

The other variable that comes into play here is your environment. These factors can include socioeconomic status, availability of addictive agents, culture, religion, trauma, stress, and more, which can cause an individual to be more vulnerable to becoming an addict.

As you can see, addiction is a multifaceted and complicated disease and it has a high genetic correlation. 

Addiction is a Family Disease — Why You Need Their Support

Whether or not you have the addict gene and whether or not your family understands what you are going through or not, there are tremendous benefits of including your family on your road to recovery. If you are currently struggling with addiction or know someone who is, this is a huge reason why you should seek out family therapy.

Families are complex! Treatment teams have to keep in mind that there is a lot of history within a family (good and bad), and these events may have influenced the addiction. Even though some may find family therapy awkward, most clinicians will recommend and even urge patients to participate in it. 

Wouldn’t you like your family to know what is going on with you during this process? The more they know, the better they can support you! Knowing that addiction is a family disease can help them, too.

Some things patients and their families can work on during family therapy are:

  • Setting new boundaries
  • Discussing how addiction has affected the family unit
  • Working on past trauma
  • Understanding the nature of addictive behaviors 
  • Identifying sources of conflict 
  • Describing triggers
  • Figuring out how the family can best support the patient 
  • Working on healthy and effective communication skills
  • Rebuilding trust in the relationship

The benefits of family therapy absolutely outweigh the risks–having family support is key in recovery. But what if you don’t have any close relatives or the people you would have provide support are actively engaged in substances? 

Even close friends who have a positive role in your recovery or a mentor can sit in as a “family member” during this time. Family does not necessarily mean biology. 

Let Us Help You Do the Hard Work! 

Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado offers family therapy as part of the holistic treatment plan. Again, this is an imperative part of the recovery process. At Continuum, a licensed substance abuse counselor educates family members on:

  • The Addiction Disease Model
  • The purpose of treatment
  • How treatment works as a support mechanism
  • What enabling looks like
  • Where to go for additional resources 

No family education sessions will be the same, as different points of contention and interest will give rise to areas that need to be addressed. Some moments will be anticipated and others can come from left field. Regardless, the process of going through family therapy with those you choose will help you to reap benefits within your life and help you recover from your addiction.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado to learn more about their Family Therapy and Education program.

Let’s heal together!