≡ Menu

Get Real with Your Teens: Is Addiction Genetic?

Over 21 million adults in America struggle with some type of drug or alcohol addiction. 

If you have children and have also had an addiction in the past, you might be asking yourself the question, “Is addiction genetic?” 

Make sure you keep reading below to get the answer you’re looking for. 

Is Addiction Genetic?

The short answer is this: yes. 

Teenagers who have addicted parents are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol themselves. If you struggle with addiction, there’s a high risk that you could pass that addiction on to your children later in life. 

But why is addiction genetic?

It has to do with two different factors: genetics and behavior. 

The Role of Family Addiction in a Teenager’s Life

Genetics might not be the only thing that causes your child to develop a drug or alcohol addiction. Behavior, both yours and theirs, plays a big part as well. 


The DNA sequence of everyone on earth is about 99.9% the same. It’s that 0.1% that makes all the difference. 

This 0.1% can make certain families more susceptible to certain diseases, such as heart attacks, diabetes, and even addiction. Therefore, a child of an addicted parent is more predisposed to struggle with addiction themselves. 

But the genetics of alcoholism and addiction aren’t the only issue. 


The behavior of addicted parents and their children can also contribute to hereditary addiction. 

Children of addicts might simply have more access to drugs or alcohol. This can increase the likelihood of them trying these substances. 

But children of addicts might also have their own behavioral problems and poor coping skills. This can cause them to start using drugs as a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, and more. 

Will Kids with Addicted Family Members Always Struggle with Addiction?

Kids that have addicted parents have a much higher risk to develop an addiction than other children. 

But that doesn’t mean kids of addicts will, without a doubt struggle with addiction later in life. In fact, the opposite is often true. Many people who come from addicted parents don’t develop their own addiction at all. 

Although the chance of your teenager picking up your addiction is more likely than other families, it’s not a death sentence. If you suspect your teenager might be taking drugs, getting help as early as possible can help them recover. 

You should also spend time talking to your kids about drug or alcohol addiction, especially if you struggled with it at some point in your life. This can make them more aware of the problem. 

Understanding Hereditary Addiction 

So is addiction genetic? 

In short, yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to start panicking. Instead, focus on getting the right help when/if they need it and making them aware of the problem. 

Are you still struggling with an addiction of your own?

Make sure you click here to learn how to get over your addiction once and for all.