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Addictions because of a Parent

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by Deeishere, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I absolutely think some addictions are genetic, and there's a plethora of research out there on the topic too. I also think to a degree it could be learned behaviour - if you see your parents drinking to excess all the time, for instance, it can normalize it to a degree.

    I also think though that there are many situations where addiction has absolutely nothing to do with a person's parents, and it would be naïve for any of us to assume every case of addiction is a result of something that parents did or didn't do.
  2. Mayoress

    Mayoress Active Contributor

    Individual differences comes into play here. Some children with addicted parents will definitely be affected by their parent's practises and grow to become like them. Some will decide not to follow that part because they would have experienced the pain and suffering that is caused by addiction.
  3. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    This could be the case as well. We never know the impact that our actions as a parent have on our kids, so we are better off giving a good example instead of poor behaviors.
  4. Nancy D.

    Nancy D. Senior Contributor

    I think this could give the influence if child witnessed a parent abusing substances. However I don't think this causes anybody to go the same route. We have to understand we are responsible for our own actions, and therefore should have open communication if you grew up watching a parent who was a substance abuser...make it your business to talk through this pain so that way you will not repeat this behavior. I feel like when you are educated about these issues, the less likely someone might be to repeat the cycle.
  5. Deeishere

    Deeishere Active Contributor

    My father use smoke cigars and boy those things would smell aweful. My mother would smoke cigarettes, but neither appealed to me. When I was a teenager, I remember going into the alley with friends who had some cigarettes and we tried to smoke. I was thinking, what is all the hype about. I thought it was horrid and never tried again.
  6. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Haha, so great for you that you didn't enjoy it. I recall smoking for the first time and I had the same feeling, why do people do this? At the same time, later I continued...
  7. djdrug

    djdrug Community Champion

    Exactly, I could never get how people could actually enjoy it. But, its the addiction that makes people become addicted. I do think that it is a terrible crime for a parent to not teach the kids at an early age how terrible things are and how terrible things could be.
  8. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    The issue is that we get to try because our friends or relatives do it and before we know it we get addicted to it. In my case it made me a little dizzy and I enjoyed it so I kept on doing it...
  9. morgoodie

    morgoodie Senior Contributor

    I think it just depends on the mindset of the child/children involved. I think for some they grow up around it and it is all they know so they may end up just like their parents. Then you have the ones that see what it does to the person and the whole family and make the decision to not be like that and do everything they can to get away from that lifestyle. Even though there is a link to addiction being inherited and you have a greater chance of being an addict if it is in the family, I still think that you can make the choice to not drink or do drugs and not become an addict.
  10. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    The main thing here is that kids are just kids and many times their mindset is not even there. They see their parents doing it and they copy that behavior.
  11. SashaS

    SashaS Community Champion

    I once read an article that claimed alcoholism is hereditary, so perhaps it can be in the genes, but the more likely situation is if the children are exposed to it physically by their parents. If you see Dad smoking everyday, still living life like a normal person, it would retract from your perception of how bad smoking is. If Mom is in jail for drugs, you could think that it's fine to do drugs, as long as you don't get caught.

    Exposure to it will desensitize you, so yes, I definitely think it could influence it a little, perhaps not with everyone though. There will always be the kids that are smarter and wiser, kids who know better because they are educated to.
  12. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    There are many cases wherein children exposed to addiction early in life because of the parents end up mimicking them or absorbing their ways upon growing up. If their parents did nothing to discourage the habit, then tendency is, they're going to do the same. Others addiction reasons have something to do with peer pressure, unresolved teenage angst, depression and tragic incidents.
  13. remnant

    remnant Community Champion

    It is very common for children to follow in their parents footsteps. They are their first mentors from a very impressionable age. But I have observed some tendencies in the behaviour patterns of children of alcoholic parents. They either follow their parents footsteps out of frustration, or veer to the opposite direction and become teetotallers. This is due to the negative experiences they have undergone under alcoholic parents.
  14. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Yes, they copy everything, many times they see us doing and think it's ok, other times it's even at an subconscious level. So all in all, we need to set a good example for our kids.
  15. bhu

    bhu Active Contributor

    Very definitely I think that the disease of addiction is a family disease. I know one of my relatives had some habits, another had different ones. I have been very lucky that I didn't start a smoking addiction. I did drink nightly for a year while partying my divorce off my mind. And I know I have to watch my dietary habits, because my family loves to eat, and it shows. I was raised to medicate stress and emotions with food. And because I disliked competitive sports and didn't know about yoga until my late 20s, I didn't really like exercise until then. I'm so glad to have picked up healthy habits and knowledge somewhere along the way. It counters the stress and cravings and gives me peace of mind.
  16. LovesBigFool

    LovesBigFool Active Contributor

    I can only speak about alcohol addiction. The truth is, it's complicated.

    Genetically, I inherit my allergic reaction to alcohol the same as I might inherit an allergy to ragweed. For me, drinking becomes progressively a bigger and bigger issue in my life. It will get to the point where alcohol no longer provides relaxation or relief from stress or sorrow.

    On the other hand, watching my family drink when I was young normalized drinking as something that was treasured. It also associated drinking with being a true adult.
  17. Deeishere

    Deeishere Active Contributor

    That is true. I remember one of my close friends had parents who were heavy drinkers. She didn't drink at all and was actually a strong support for her family. She now has a son who is very bright and a hard worker. She raised him in an alcohol free environment.
  18. Deeishere

    Deeishere Active Contributor

    How is being an alcoholic a mental illness? I always thought that people drink, or take drugs and if they do it long enough their body craves it. I also feel that people will take drugs to numb pain they are not dealing with.
  19. OHelloMe

    OHelloMe Active Contributor

    Addiction runs in my family. There is no doubt about that. I have to take many steps to prevent my own addiction because of it. It is a lot of extra work, but you get through it and I just am grateful to have been able to learn from my family members.
    Mara likes this.
  20. Mara

    Mara Community Champion

    It's great that you learn from their mistakes and see their experience with substances as a lesson. You are truly a remarkable and strong-willed person. Growing up with an alcoholic parent, and seeing all types of alcoholic drinks at home on a day to day basis made me think back then that it was normal. My brothers and I started drinking early and soon afterwards, we were following in my dad's footsteps. It took me a while to get alcohol off my system. And you're right. Preventing addiction is hard work. I am also thankful that I realized that alcohol is ruining my life. It was a hard lesson. And it's something that I do not care to repeat.