Why is Addiction Called a Family Disease?

Addiction is called a family disease because it affects everyone in a family unit. While one person struggles with addiction, the rest of the family struggles with the impact that it causes. 

At Impact IOP, we work with clients and their families to get back on track with their lives while addressing the concerns around addiction and its impact on the family. Speak with an admissions coordinator today to see how we can help you or your loved one with an addiction.

What are the Causes of Addiction?

Addiction develops out of the constant misuse of substances. It has many possible beginnings, but they all stem from creating an unhealthy relationship with a substance.

Why is Addiction Called a Family Disease?

Research has shown that there are several warning factors regarding addiction. Early use, misuse, and family history all play a prominent role in developing addiction, though they are not guarantees that someone will develop one. 

Early use is one predictor that many scientists and researchers use to determine the likelihood of the development of an addiction. Early use is defined as using the substance before the body is fully developed. For example, drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana in high school is a warning factor as both are illegal for teenagers and have age requirements. This leads to unsafe and unregulated use, and when use is not monitored, it is much more likely to be abused. However, early use is not the only red flag for misuse either. 

Misuse can be a factor in addiction studies on its own. Individuals who use too much, binge use, mix substances, and change how the drug is taken are all at risk of developing an addiction to the substance. These types of misuse indicate an unhealthy relationship with the substance and how it is used. As before, not monitoring use through safe use, individuals have a greater chance of developing an addiction and suffering unwanted consequences of use. Using too much, bingeing, and mixing substances are all factors that increase the likelihood of addiction and the possibility of fatal overdose.

Lastly, family history can play a part in developing an addiction. Individuals who grow up with addicted parents often learn unsafe habits revolving around drug use. This can lead to the earlier examples of misuse and even initiate earlier addiction in some cases. Through this family disease, individuals are at higher risk.

Why is Addiction Called a Family Disease?

Why is Addiction Called a Family Disease?

Addiction is called a family disease because it impacts the whole familial unit when an individual is struggling with a substance use disorder. Individuals who experience addiction can rarely keep it to themselves for long without someone in their life feeling the impact. Addiction is defined as a chronic and relapsing mental health disorder that impacts every area of a person’s family life, social life, and work life. 

When addiction attacks a person’s family life, it can cause additional stress for the user, often triggering increased use and the family members. For example, children raised in a home with an addict have an increased risk of developing an addiction based on unsafe learned behaviors and access to substances. Additionally, an addict’s family members may act out, experience increased bouts of aggression, become depressed, or develop unsafe coping skills in situations where they feel out of control. 

Is Addiction Hereditary?

Some research has linked alcohol to a genetic predisposition for addiction. While this factor is not a guarantee, it does open up the possibility that individuals with a predisposition to substance abuse may, in fact, struggle more with substances and how they’re used following the family disease model.

Individuals with addictive personalities and other mental health disorders, like ADHD, may struggle more with addiction. In addition, people in these categories may struggle with the side effects of their conditions, making them more likely to abuse a substance.

How to Find Family-Centered Addiction Treatment

Family-centered addiction treatment is critical for individuals looking to rebuild their family relationships following addiction. The best course of action is to get help for the individual struggling with addiction at a treatment facility that offers family therapy. Once an individual starts their treatment program, the doctors and clinicians can monitor progress and add family therapy into the treatment process. By breaking the family disease model, individuals can rebuild their relationships.

Family-centered addiction treatment in Kentucky is designed to support individuals through communication, conflict resolution, and goal setting. At Impact IOP, our Louisville outpatient treatment programs are designed to get people focused and back on track. Through regularly scheduled meets and designed support, clients can work towards sobriety and work on their families too.
Contact Impact IOP to see how we can help you get back on track today.

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