It is so often that when an addicted parent is in the picture, many other family members will begin to wonder if the child is destined to the same future. Do genetics predetermine whether or not they will become an addict? Will growing up in an environment where drugs are present lead to the child using? More or less the question is, can parents influence drug addiction in their children?
Whether addiction is genetic or not has been a topic of interest for a number of years. The simple fact is, no single gene has been identified as the cause for an addiction. However, a number of sequences within different genes can be influential on a predisposition of possible addiction. Genetics are never a sole determinate of whether or not someone develops an addiction.
Regardless of the predisposition of addiction, one contributing factor for addiction depends on the surrounding environment of the child. Environmental factors can make or break an addiction, regardless if the child is genetically predisposed or not. For example, someone who does not have a genetic predisposition may be in an environment in which drugs are present. If the child remains in said environment where consistent use is occurring, then they may begin to see this as a regular lifestyle choice.
In certain situations, a parent may even begin to include their child in their use once they have reached a certain age. Since children often look for the acceptance of their parents, they may eventually succumb to the pressure. This can be falsification of a relationship for the child. Where they believe that they are gaining the approval from their parent by joining them in their rituals, they are actually putting themselves on a path that can be difficult to divert from.
What about the times when the parent is not an addict and the child begins to use? There are times when a child may begin to drink and use other substances as a means to gain the attention of their parent. When the attention is not given or not in the way the child had hoped, the use may escalate, leading to an addiction.
On the other hand, there are always ways these instances can prevent a child from substance use and abuse as well. If the child is raised in an environment where drugs are present, after seeing the effects this may influence them to never touch any mind altering substance. Even if drugs are not present, yet the child is still neglected, they may invest themselves in higher opportunities as a distraction. Nonetheless, everything is situational and no two persons are the same.