Alcoholism is the most prevalent addiction in my family. I have read that when a parent abuses alcohol, their addiction can have a very detrimental effect on the children living in the household. I have not been addicted to anything, but I did try my fair share of mind altering substances once I left home. I have always felt the need to be in complete control of my mental faculties; I believe that is what kept me from falling over the edge. My siblings were not as fortunate. I have two brothers who abuse alcohol (one appears to have progressed to opiates). One of my sisters is addicted to pain killers (to manage chronic pain). Before I met my current husband, I used alcohol to escape, and feel better. I currently don’t drink at all, and haven’t for many years. I’m not sure if my remaining two sisters abuse any substances – one is schizophrenic (I read that schizophrenia can be genetically passed on), and the other does not communicate very often with the rest of the family. Alcoholism destroyed the core fabric of our family.
Hypertension is also predominant in my family. I have it, and as far as I know, at least 3 of my siblings are managing high blood pressure. Also, nicotine addiction (smoking) was passed along to me and my siblings. I smoked for several years, but quit 23 years ago; I’m not sure if my siblings picked up the habit (I know some of them currently smoke other things).
Other than those addictions and illnesses, I am not aware of any other genetic problem or illness that can be passed down in my family.