It is quite common for people to refuse prescription painkillers. This is true even when they might be in intense pain. People who do this are often those who have experienced addiction in their family.

That means someone in their family has suffered from addiction. Because of this, they know that they are at a higher risk for falling to the same fate. Some people are better safe than sorry and refuse anything that has addictive qualities.

Family history does put people at risk for developing substance abuse disorders. Studies have shown the familial link over and over again. That is why many people stay away from drugs or alcohol. That is a good thing.

How Genetics Matter

Genetics can and do decide whether someone will develop an addiction. It isn’t a choice. One drink of alcohol or one time using a drug can lead to a lifetime problem. For some, that risk is too much. Even more than having to deal with pain.

Some genes actually do make it more difficult for people to stop drinking or doing drugs once they start. It sounds crazy but it’s actually scientifically sound.

Genetic disorders usually mean that the closer the family member is the closer the risk is. This means if your mother has an addiction problem then you’re more likely to have one too. More so than if your uncle or cousin does. But the risk is still there either way.

The CDC says that more than 72,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017. The drug addiction epidemic is in full throw. 88,000 people die a year in the U.S. because of alcohol-related problems.


Safeguarding yourself especially with a history of genetics is important. You can’t control where you come from, but you can control where you go. This means that there are plenty of different ways to prevent yourself from developing addiction.

  1. Research your family history.

Be sure to talk to your family openly and learn what you can. Ask if anyone has ever suffered from alcohol or drug addiction. Learn more about it. People in your family may not be open about it or try to hide it. Reassure them that you just want to know and no judgments will be made.

  1. Limit your drinking.

This means try not to drink regularly. Only drink on special occasions. Having a drink every night or every weekend can lead to substance abuse. Don’t make drinking casual but don’t ban it either. Trust yourself to manage but remember that it is not good for you anyways. Boundaries are important for managing potential issues.

  1. Talk to your doctors.

Make sure that your doctors know your family history. Don’t hold back, let them know about it. This can help keep them from accidentally prescribing you something addictive when they don’t have to. This also means they can monitor you for potential signs of addiction.

Just because your family has a history of addiction doesn’t mean you’ll fall prey as well. Take precautions and you’ll be fine.