Substance use disorder is a disease with genetic factors that affect a person’s chance of developing an addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (samhsa.gov), people exposed to drug use during early childhood are more likely to have behavioral health and mental health problems. In fact, according to SAMHSA, children of parents with alcohol use disorder are four times more likely to develop a problem themselves compared to other children.
While parental substance use disorders increase the risk, other external factors increase the prevalence of addiction in young adults. Environmental factors like trauma and stress increase the chance of substance misuse. Adolescents experiencing pressure from their peers often search for a way to reduce stress, leading them to try substances.
It is also important to remember that addiction often co-occurs with another mental disorder. Children who struggle with their mental health have a higher risk of developing substance use disorder. Treating a child’s mental health can help mitigate the risk and help as part of a substance use treatment plan.