If you've ever looked into your family history and seen a surprising link between your genetic line and alcoholism, you'll know that it can be an unsettling experience that brings up more questions than it answers. Will I be affected? How will I know if I am? What will I do if a family member is affected? These are just some of the issues that you may have had to address. To help better understand these difficult situations, here are just a few facts about alcoholism and family patterns that everyone should know.
1. There is a Genetic Link to Alcoholism
Firstly, it is true that there is a genetic link between family members and alcoholism. But the good news is that with preventative measures, it is not a foregone conclusion that alcoholism will be an issue.
2. The Importance of Preventative Behavior
This is because educating yourself on the signs and risks of alcoholism is an essential part of prevention -- and consulting your physician, and keeping them in the loop about your drinking patterns, can help you understand if and when drinking becomes a problem.
3. Genetic Risks are Just One Aspect of Alcoholism
But the difficult news can be that developing a problem with alcohol isn't necessarily just an issue related to genetics. Depression and other mental health problems can often lead people to self-medication, a process of using substances to minimize negative feelings -- one of the biggest behaviors that can lead to problems such as alcoholism.
4. Understand Codependence
If a close family member has suffered from alcoholism, one of the best things you can learn to do for yourself is to recognize how your behavior has shifted toward the alcoholic -- especially if you are trying to protect them from consequences. This type of behavior, just one strand of codependence, is one of the most difficult things for relatives of alcoholics to cope with, because one becomes hyper-sensitive to the needs of others, often at the expense of one's own.
5. Getting Help When Alcohol Becomes a Problem
If you feel that you or someone you know has developed a problem with alcohol, know that there are professionals and support groups who will be able to help you no matter what the difficulty level. If you're looking for an alcohol rehab center in Utah, know that there are many excellent programs within the state that can help you improve yours and your loved one's life in profound ways. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and AlAnon, which helps family members and friends cope with the alcoholism of loved ones, can significantly help with what is a difficult process.
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