Intergenerational Patterns of Addiction

Topics: Alcoholism, Family therapy, Addiction Pages: 4 (1117 words) Published: June 17, 2013
Intergenerational Patterns of Addiction
Jodi Stillman

Genograms can be very enlightening for families. Many patterns of multigenerational issues can be exposed and explored by beginning with a genogram. There are patterns of medical issues that can be brought to light and give a family a chance to make healthier choices in an effort to stave off the effects of genetic predispositions to certain illnesses. The same can be said for patterns of addictions across multiple generations of the family. When these patterns of addictions are uncovered, they can be addressed, and possibly used to benefit the therapy of a family member.

There is great debate of nature versus nurture. What are we really a product of? Genetics, surprisingly, do play an important part in how people turn out. In the instance of a son of an alcoholic, raised by the alcoholic, that turns out to be an alcoholic, almost anyone would expect that to happen. But what happens when the son of an alcoholic is adopted out and raised by non-alcoholic parents? Does he still turn out to be an alcoholic? Interestingly enough, yes, he does turn out to be an alcoholic. According to Campbell (2010), results revealed that having an alcoholic biological parent greatly increased the risk of their offspring developing alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms. Gene-environment studies on adopted away children have frequently shown increased risk for alcohol misuse in adoptees from an alcoholic biological background, and revealed that alcohol abuse by the adoptive parents is not associated with greater risk of alcohol abuse in the adopted child, suggesting a minor influence of environment.

There are three approaches that can be taken by the families once they have uncovered a multigenerational pattern of addiction: solution focused, narrative, or intergenerational. It is in the best interest of the family, with the help of the therapist, determine which approach is the best fit for this particular family and...

References: DiBlasio, F. A. (1998), The use of a decision-based forgiveness intervention within
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Justine M. Campbell, Tian P. Oei, A cognitive model for the intergenerational transference of
alcohol use behavior, Addictive Behaviors, Volume 35, Issue 2, February 2010, Pages
73-83, ISSN 0306-4603, 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.09.013.
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