Every family has things that are passed down from generation to generation – whether it’s their quality of eyesight, a specific talent, or even a physical or mental health condition. But can something as complex as addiction trickle down from one generation to the next?

Unfortunately, people are more likely to struggle with addiction if one of their close family members has it. Substance abuse is a cycle that can be very hard for some families to break. Watching addiction damage the lives of the people you love can be difficult, and it may make you wonder whether or not you’re bound to end up the same way as the people around you. However, there are ways to protect yourself and work to prevent addiction from affecting you.


Can Addiction Run In The Family?

Yes, addiction can be passed down between generations through a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Both nature and nurture play a role in whether or not someone will have a substance abuse problem. Plus, children are the most vulnerable to the cycle of addiction. If someone’s parents abused drugs or alcohol before and during their childhood, they are more likely to display those behaviors than someone with parents who don’t have an addiction.

Even though substance abuse can sometimes run in families, it isn’t inevitable. All it takes is for one person to break the cycle of addiction; and while it may be hard, it’s definitely possible.


How To Break the Intergenerational Cycle of Addiction

Breaking a family cycle of addiction is possible through honesty, prevention, and asking for help when you need it. It will be a tough journey, but it will certainly be worth it to be able to positively impact future generations in your family. Here are some ways you can start to break the cycle:


Focus more on what you can control and less on what you can’t.

You have no say over what happens around you, so prioritize the things that you can control – like your own actions, feelings, and thoughts. One way to practice controlling thoughts is by coming up with 3 positive thoughts for each negative thought.


Practice relaxation techniques.

Having a daily yoga or meditation practice can help you stay calm and relaxed. Similarly, it’s beneficial to breathe deeply when stressed.


Stay educated about drug and alcohol abuse.

If you know about your family’s history with substance abuse and are informed about the risks of going down that path, you will be more equipped with the tools you need to fight addiction.


Receive guidance from a therapist.

Going to a therapist will help you be honest with yourself and develop the coping tools you need to resist abusing drugs or alcohol.


Stay abstinent from substances.

If someone in your immediate family has a drug or alcohol problem and you’re trying to prevent it from happening to you, the best way to do so is by resisting substances altogether.


Using the techniques above does not guarantee that you’ll break the cycle of addiction, but it will get you one step closer to improving your well-being and staying sober for good. It can be very hard to fight addiction on your own, so it’s important to have a strong support system.


Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment

In some cases, treatment may be required to help truly break the cycle of addiction. Substance abuse treatment can offer individuals the support and tools they need to have a drug-free future. Treatment methods for addiction typically include one-on-one therapy, medication, education, support groups, and family therapy. When it comes to intergenerational drug abuse, family therapy is potentially the most important type of treatment.

Intergenerational trauma does not have to break you or your family; instead, break the cycle by taking control of your own life and your own future. By getting treatment and prioritizing your mental health, you can end the cycle of addiction in your family.

For more information about intergenerational addiction, or to get started with a recovery program, contact our team of substance abuse treatment specialists. Give us a call at 267.209.7312.