23 Mar 2022


Addiction: A Family with a History

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Academic level: College

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Does coming from an alcoholic family mean that you will eventually become an alcoholic? Often people tend to think that coming from a family with a history of addiction poses a higher risk of becoming an addict. However, they are right! Coming from a family that has a history of addiction poses a greater risk of becoming an addict due to the high influence one gets from the family enthusiasts. This discussion will explain the circumstances under which one inherits addiction and give relevant illustrations to help the reader connect with the situation.

Is addiction a disease? This argument has sparked numerous opinions with two conflicting parties failing to reach a conclusion about this sensitive issue. “Addiction is a disease that camouflages itself in the habitual context,” (Elizabeth Henderson, pg.1). People tend to think that alcoholics and drug abusers get to use these substances by choice and that the addiction is as a result of failure to control their habits. Yes, this opinion is quite valid because poor self-control amounts to 50% of this problem. However, the remaining half is attributed to family addiction whereas addicted relatives transfer the addiction to their close family members. For instance; two identical twins named X and Z were born of the same womb, grew up together and have spent almost all their life together. Twin X reaches a point when he starts abusing alcohol and eventually becomes an alcoholic. They still spend time together even though twin Z does not use alcohol. Twin X will put twin Z at a higher risk of getting the addiction since they are related and tend to behave in an identical manner. Twin Z will inherit the 50% addiction from his sibling, and the other 50% will be blamed to poor self-control. This example illustrates both the contributions of habitual inheritance and lack of proper self-rule. Therefore, the above-asked questions are perfectly answered in this illustration.

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Do not confuse drinking alcohol with alcoholism. Addiction does not necessarily mean that if one engages in drinking means that they are addicted to it. Addiction is the slavery to certain substances that dictate how your body behaves when you have not consumed the substances. For instance, Tobacco users tend to be sluggish when they lack Tobacco intake but are quite active when they smoke. This is what we refer to as addiction. People become addicts when they try to fight the effects of these substances in their bodies by neutralizing the effects through the additional intake of the same elements. Have you ever drunk a lot of alcohol? If yes, then you probably know what I am talking about. When you drink alcohol; you tend to be lazy and fatigued on the following morning, a feeling we refer to as “Hangover”. Most people will resort to drinking more alcohol to neutralize this disturbing feeling. This is how addiction starts and gradually transforms us into substance slaves.

Children born of addicted parents have a higher chance of getting the addiction due to genetic inheritance. According to research statistics, paternal addiction amounts to about 60% of addiction. Research has shown that about 60% of addicted people inherited the disease from their biological parents. For instance, children who were born of both alcoholic parents and grew up in an alcoholic environment turned up to be alcoholics. This is not due to poor self-rule but its because of the high influence of alcoholism and genetic composition. You probably are now aware that when you engage in substance abuse, you subject your close relatives to the vulnerability of the same addiction. Therefore; when parents engage in such activities, their children are nine times more likely to join the club of the same addiction and this problem might trickle down to many generations to come.

Despite addiction been a genetically inherited symptom, there is minimal evidence to support this perception. The most challenging argument to shoot this notion down is the inheritance of certain habits such as gambling. The opponents of addiction inheritance argue that if smoking and alcoholism addiction are genetically inherited, what of gambling addiction? This is to show that addiction does not come from gene transfer but is due to self-choice and lack of coping skills. Gambling is not something that can be ingested or digested; it is a mental problem that sticks in the minds of the gamblers. “Just like alcohol addiction, gambling is also quite addictive as the addicts tend to spend all their resources in gambling casinos and can only be treated in a rehab center,” (Hugh A. Aplin, pg.2). Often, children of gambling addicts tend to fall into the net and become even worse gamblers than their parents. However; just like you consume a lot of your favorite snack, and so is the gambling addiction.

Cross addiction is the primary cause of our tribulations. “The addiction problem is wired and transmitted in our brains and predisposes us to several addictions,” (Stanton Peele, pg.1). For instance, a fifteen-year-boy who frequently spends time with his alcoholic father is likely to fall prey into bhang addiction. Most children emulate their parents and strive to become better than them. Also, most women develop undetectable addictions that originate from family histories of addiction. For instance, the majority of them often use tranquilizers for sleep thinking that its just an ordinary habit. However; if they trace their family history, they will be shocked to realize that they inherited the addiction from their alcoholic grandparents. So is addiction a family inherited disease? Next time you light up your stick of cigarette, pause for a moment and decide whether you want to help you children with addiction coping skills or pass the addiction legacy to them.


Henderson, E. C. (2000). Understanding addiction . Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Dostoyevsky, F., & Aplin, H. A. (2006). The gambler (from a young man's notes) . London: Hesperus Press.

W. (n.d.). The Genetics of Addiction. ADDICTIONS and RECOVERY.org, 1-15. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/moderate-drinking.htm

Peele, S. (2014). No biological or genetic mechanisms have been identified that account for addictive behavior. The Saint Jude Retreats . Retrieved May 4, 1016, from http://www.soberforever.net/addiction-genetics.cfm

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Addiction: A Family with a History.


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