In error, some people laugh at the notion of an “addictive personality” associating it with willpower or self-control. But the truth behind having a genetic predisposition toward substance abuse or addiction is not a laughing matter.
Research shows that biological factors are responsible for about half of a person’s vulnerability to addiction (many also become addicted due to environmental factors). That’s why it’s common for grandparents, parents, and children to have the same alcoholic nature. Behavior and environment are the next factors that determine whether or not the addiction becomes full fledged.
What complicates this even further is that there is no true addiction gene. So it’s hard for doctors to track whether you will inherit the gene because it often works in combination with other genes and environmental factors.
A good method to avoid developing an addiction starts with being wary of your family history. If family members have addictive personalities or substance addictions, be extra careful when it comes to risky behaviors. Understand your environment and identify triggers in your surroundings that could negatively impact you. Know your local resources such as recovery groups and counseling if you need additional support.
Be mindful when it comes to your activities and behaviors. Overindulging in food or alcohol once in awhile is not a big deal – unless it becomes an addiction. Ask yourself if you are engaging in these behaviors for the wrong reason. If you keep a close eye on these behaviors you will be able to identify if they are having a negative impact on your life.
Understand what a risky situation looks like. Don’t put yourself in harms way intentionally. Try to avoid situations that revolve around drinking and drugs or any other overwhelmingly negative behaviors.
Finally, prevention is truly one of the best methods to avoid developing an addiction or dependency. So it’s important to know your triggers and try to stay away from temptation.