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Family Addiction History and Managing Health

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By November 29, 2018

Research continues to be conducted on the links between addiction and possible underlying causes such as genetic predisposition. While the studies into this link are are ongoing and relatively new, it’s agreed by most that genetics and family history play some role as a contributing factor to severe addictions such as chronic alcoholism and cocaine abuse. This makes it all the more important for people who might be in situations where they are exposed to certain addictive substances to be very observant of their family history regarding addiction as well as being extremely open about such histories when entering medical care in which treatment may include drugs known to be addictive like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

 

Getting Help

Preventing and managing addiction becomes more successful the more outside help a person has with it. Once it sets in, it’s very difficult or even impossible to regain control over drug or alcohol addiction through the addicted individuals actions. There are several ways to protect your sobriety and risk to addictions to alcohol and drugs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Being open about your family’s addiction history when going in for surgery or being prescribed painkillers after an injury can be one of the most important ways to combat addiction before it gets out of control. Your healthcare provider, when alerted to the history, can more closely monitor for signs of addiction or even prescribe alternative painkillers with lower risks to addictive behavior. Your family’s addiction history should also be discussed with your romantic partner when the relationship begins to get serious. If your partner cares about you, alerting them early on about your possible elevated risk of addiction can help identify symptoms of abuse and addiction earlier and thus make them easier to treat and prevent health complications from substance abuse.

 

History of Addiction

For people who have a history of alcoholism, abstaining as much as possible from alcohol use is a huge one. This doesn’t mean it’s required to never drink, but limiting drinks to special holidays once or twice a year is highly recommended. Sharing a glass of champagne with friends at New Year’s, for instance, is just fine. If at any time it goes beyond a moderated celebratory use, those should be taken as warning signals.

Finally, it’s not just your own health at stake when it comes to family history of addiction. If you have kids, it’s important to let them know as well and to imbue in them a sense of responsibility to take the precautions you yourself take when it comes to being open about family history with addictive substances. While they’re under your care, it may not matter as much if they’re not exposed to situations where they’ll have to make important choices about drugs, medication or alcohol, but if they aren’t aware of their possibly reaction to them, they may end up being unintentionally affected. It goes without saying, as well, that alerting a physician about addiction history when your children are being prescribed medication is important as well.

If you or anyone you know suffers from addiction, getting professional treatment is important. Discovery Institute New Jersey’s staff of trained counselors are available for questions and discussions on options for those seeking help at 844-478-6563.

 

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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