What is Hereditary Alcoholism?
The genetics that are given to us by our family are what help to determine what our traits, behaviors and personality characteristics are. This can include anything from the color of our eyes, how tall we will be, whether we will have any mental health issues or whether we are more predisposed to certain diseases. In addition, one of the genetic traits that can be passed on is a higher likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder. In fact, the children of alcoholics are twice as likely to develop an alcohol use disorder than someone who is not. This is called hereditary alcoholism, so if there is a history of alcoholism in your family, it is important to know the signs and symptoms and what you can do to help break the cycle for generations to come.
Who is Prone to Hereditary Alcoholism?
Of course, not everyone who has a family history of alcoholism will develop an alcohol use disorder. However, it does make people more prone to it. For example, if most of the men in your family have experienced heart attacks or even died from them, it is important for the future generations of men in your family to take their heart health seriously. The same goes for alcoholism; if there are people in your family who have been through it or even died from alcoholism, you need to take your drinking habits seriously.
Children of Alcoholics
When children grow up with an alcoholic parent, they are at a very high risk of developing hereditary alcoholism. This is because they have grown up with seeing alcohol as a coping mechanism for their role models. It is much more normalized for them. For example, when they see people drinking, passed out from drinking, experiencing a hangover or being violent while intoxicated, it doesn’t phase them as much as it would for a child who is not used to it.
By constantly seeing these negative coping mechanisms and negative behaviors, the child will begin to learn them and think that they are the right thing to do. In addition, experiencing a negative home environment places a lot of stress on a child, which can stunt their brain growth. All of these things create the perfect storm for hereditary alcoholism.
Mental Health Disorders
For generations, people have been experiencing mental health disorders and self-medicating with substances. It only hasn’t been until the recent generation when mental health has become a more serious, treatable issue. In the past, it was seen as a weakness and often disregarded. This can cause people to self-medicate with drinking, and as children develop their own mental health issues, they may repeat the same coping behaviors.
Drinking at an Early Age
As alcohol becomes normalized to children, they may feel less afraid to experiment with it. People who begin drinking underage have a much higher likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder. People who wait until they are of legal age have a better chance of not struggling with such an issue.
How to Break the Cycle of Hereditary Alcoholism
If you have a family history of alcoholism and are ready to break the cycle for more generations to come, there are some things you can do to avoid falling into hereditary alcoholism.
- Monitor your social circle. Who are the people you are spending your time with? Are they positive, motivated, hard-working and healthy? If they are the opposite, this is a red flag that your hereditary alcoholism might be blooming.
- Keep your mental health a priority. Make sure you spend time keeping your mental health in check. Make regular visits to a therapist, take part in hobbies that make you happy and work to eliminate stress in your life.
- Know the symptoms of addiction. Do you drink every day? Do you have a hard time slowing down or stopping? Are you feeling hungover quite frequently? Do you drink at inappropriate times, such as int he morning or while at work? Know the signs of addiction so that you can get help when you need it.
About Pinelands Recovery Center
Just because you have a history of alcoholism in your family doesn’t mean that you are destined to become an alcoholic. There are many things you can do to avoid this happening to you, but if hereditary alcoholism does strike, we are here to help pull you out. In addition, f there is a member of your family or another loved one who needs help for their alcoholism, there are things you can do to show them help and support.
We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.
We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com