National Institutes of Health

Does Addiction Run in Families?

Addiction can run in families. If people in your family have addictions, you are more likely to become addicted if you use drugs. It's like having a greater chance of getting heart disease because your father and many of his relatives have it.

Often many people in a family will have drug problems. It can be a problem that continues through many generations. This can happen whether the family is rich, poor, or in between.

When parents have drug problems, life at home can be very unhappy for the children. This can make them even more likely to become addicted when they grow up.

The good news is that many children whose parents had drug problems do not become addicted when they grow up. The risk is higher but it does not have to happen. And you can protect yourself from the risk by not abusing drugs at all.

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"Heart disease runs in some families. Addiction runs in ours."

A serious man

Matt's family has a history of addiction. He realizes he and other relatives may be more vulnerable to addiction. (Photo information)

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