Category Archives: Drugs And Sex

Family History and Addiction Risk: What You Need to Know to Beat the Odds



You grew up in a family of substance users. You know that your risk for developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol is greater because of this hereditary factor. But what exactly are your risks? And is there anything you can do to reduce your risk?

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the single most reliable indicator for risk of future alcohol or drug dependence is family history. In an article written for NCADD, Robert Morse, MD, former Director of Addictive Disorders Services at the Mayo Clinic and member of NCADD’s Medical/Scientific Committee, says, “Research has shown conclusively that family history of alcoholism or drug addiction is in part genetic and not just the result of the family environment…millions of Americans are living proof. Plain and simple, alcoholism and drug dependence run in families.”

How Family History Affects your Chances for Addiction

Family history affects your chances of addiction in many ways. Genes are one important factor. But alcoholism and drug addiction are “genetically complex.”

Recent research has identified numerous genes, and variations within these genes, that are 005associated with the addictive process. One way genes affect a person’s risk for addiction involves how genes metabolize alcohol. Another is how nerve cells signal one another and regulate their activity. Such changes in genes can be passed down from one generation to another.

Perhaps the strongest evidence for heredity’s role in addiction comes from twin studies and adoption studies. Studies of twins found a 60% rate of similarity regarding addiction in identical twins vs. a 39% rate of similarity in fraternal twins. Studies of children adopted in infancy and studied for addiction risk in adulthood found that biological sons of alcoholics were four times more likely to become alcoholics, even when the adoptive parent had no issues with addiction, so the l factor of family environment was minimal.

But genetic predispositions are not the only factor in predicting the role of family history in addiction risk. Environmental aspects also play a role, even though they may be less significant in some cases.

Researchers have identified several family-related risks for increased vulnerability:

  • Family dysfunction (conflicts or aggression)
  • A parent who is depressed or has other psychological issues
  • One or more parents who abuses or is addicted to drugs or alcohol

Additional social and personal issues that contribute to risk include:

  • Limited social skills
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Minimal or no support system
  • Personal history of impulsivity, aggression or difficulty managing emotions
  • A history of trauma or abuse (high risk for post traumatic stress)
  • Other psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety or bi-polar disorder
  • Friends or acquaintances who are regular users and who provide easy access to drugs or alcohol

Addressing and Reducing Risks

An alternative viewpoint regarding a family history link for addiction comes from a National Institute of Health (NIH) meta-study of 65 published papers documenting 766 study participants who were college or university students. Controlling for alcohol consumption and use disorders, family history was reviewed as the variable. The meta-study found that students who had family histories of alcohol or drug problems did not drink more but they were likely to be more at risk for problems that are associated with drug or alcohol use (ex: causing shame or embarrassment to someone; passing out or fainting; or having problems with school).

The bottom line is that there are still a lot of uncertainties when it comes to assessing drug and alcohol risks as they relate to family history. The good news is that even if you come from a family with a troubled history, or a history of addictions, that does not mean you will automatically become an addict. The risk is higher, but there are ways to prevent that from happening. You can choose to be proactive and greatly reduce your addiction risk.

Here are a few suggestions to reduce your addiction risk:

  • Avoid under-age drinking or substance use; early-onset of use increases risk
  • Choose abstinence or carefully monitor your consumption
  • Avoid associating with heavy drinkers or substance users
  • Manage your psychological health; seek assistance from a mental health provider if you are highly stressed, anxious or depressed
  • Participate in workplace or school prevention programs

Intervention Strategies

Should you already find yourself dealing with an alcohol or drug issue, here are some intervention strategies provided by the National Institute of Health, in their publication, Alcohol Alert:

  • Motivational Interview: This strategy focuses on enhancing your motivation and commitment to changing your behavior, if you are currently abusing drugs or alcohol. Typically you would work with an addictions counselor or mental health professional and discuss your beliefs, choices and behaviors associated with substance use. The purpose of the interview is to help you develop a realistic view of your use, problems associated with it and your treatment goals and expectations.
  • Cognitive–Behavioral Interventions: These strategies are taught by a counselor or therapist, or they can sometimes can be accessed via an online self-help program. They help you change your behavior by helping you recognize when and why you drink excessively or use illegal substances. Cognitive-behavioral approaches challenge irrational expectations about substance use and raise your awareness of how drugs or alcohol affect your health and well-being. They provide tools for mentally and emotionally addressing denial, resistance, self-criticism and shame.
  • Drug-Free Workplace programs: Many workplaces now help their employees who are abusing alcohol or drugs. Lifestyle campaigns encourage workers to ease stress, improve nutrition and exercise, and reduce risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking, or drug use. Other programs promote social support and volunteerism. Many Employee Assistance Programs offer employees referrals to substance abuse or other treatment programs, and may help pay for treatment.

Remember, the risk for alcohol and drug addiction does run in families. But you can manage the risk and avoid an addiction problem in your own life. Be proactive in monitoring your substance use, manage your mental and emotional health and seek support if you need it. The final outcome will depend on you and the choices you make today, not on your history.
Complete Article HERE!

Early Spring 2014 Q&A Show — Podcast #413 — 03/31/14

Hey sex fans,rifleman

After a spate of marvelous interview shows, it’s time to turn our attention to the sexually worrisome in our audience. I have a swell Q&A show in store for you today, which just so happens to be our last podcast before our annual spring break. Each of my correspondents is eager to share his or her sex and relationship concerns with us. And I will do my level best to make my responses informative, enriching and maybe even a little entertaining. And I think there will be enough time for us to do some sex science too. So please stay tuned, you won’t want to miss this.

  • Kennedy, Jim, and Ronald’s lives are being fucked up by meth.
  • Sam wants to know about and share some information about penis pumps.
  • Rebecca has a heartbreaking story to tell of the last days before her husband of 46 years died.
  • Tracy asks about babies and gender. So you know it’s time for some Sex Science.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews.


Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Sobriety & Sex

Name: Gregg
Gender: Male
Age: 40
Location: Seattle
Since getting sober now almost 8 years ago I am very tense about sex and I feel as though I have lost my mojo. I am unable to relax and be intimate with a man and I am thinking I need an intimacy coach or sex coach, or something. Perhaps someone with tantra training who can help me find a comfort level with my body again and being touched and touching another.

Hey, thanks for your interesting question. Sadly, yours is not an uncommon concern. In fact, I just finished an 8-week group for men in recovery who were dealing with similar intimacy issues. A lot of the work we did together was helping one another reestablish a sense of trust.

legs & bootsSo many of us gay men start out our sexual lives with alcohol and/or drugs to help us overcome our inhibitions as well as a means of dulling some of the anti-gay messaging that comes to us from the world around us. Sometimes, the substances take hold of us and instead of we being in control the substances are in control. There was one guy in the group I just mentioned who is in his 5o’s, and he confessed to the group that before he got clean and sober, a couple years ago, he had never had sex sober. And he had been sexually active since his early twenties.

Substance abuse can rob us of more than just our dignity. It often effects our sexual response cycle in ways that diminish our ability to enjoy our sexuality. Men often report erection problems and women report arousal phase problems when they come off booze and or drugs. This, as you suggest, impacts on our comfort level in all intimate situations. If our parts aren’t working like we would want them to, we’d rather avoid intimate contact rather than be embarrassed. So, in other words, when we rid ourselves of the substances that once enabled us, we often need to relearn how to be ourselves, particularly in intimate situations.

Learning to trust others enough to open ourselves to others, even with our “brokenness,” is the key to regaining our sense of sexual self. We need to learn how to overcome our shame, which often gets in the way of reaching out to others. And if some of our shame is unresolved internalized homophobia, well then, we really have some work to do.tit bite

I think you’ve hit upon the perfect solution to your pressing problem. Working with a sex coach or intimacy coach is definitely one way to go. For those challenged, as you are, verbal therapy is great. But there is no substitute for actual hands-on therapy.

I know several people who have been helped by a surrogate partner or a sexual healer. I applaud you for thinking so creatively. Of course, finding the right person to work with will be a challenge. And I should mention that other helping professionals, even some sexologists, do not always look upon these kinds of interventions as legitimate. That’s a pity, but what are ya gonna do.

As you know, there are loads of sex workers out there. Unfortunately, very few have the training needed to provide surrogate partner therapy, or understand the delicate issues that a trained sexual healer must deal with. I hope you find what you are looking for.

If you need someone to discuss this with further, give me a shout. You’ll find my contact information on either the ABOUT page or the THERAPY AVAILABLE page in the header above.

Good luck

You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’

Name: Heather
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Location: USA
I have been married for 10 years. I told my husband 6 years ago that I was not physically attracted to him anymore. I stopped wanting sex from him, because he just turned me off. No matter what he does — cleaning, cooking, running me a bath, eat me and so on but nothing works. I start to get wet and as soon as he gets started but I dry up like a prune what should I do? I have not had good sex in a long time.

Well, if you’re not attracted to him anymore, you’re not attracted to him anymore…plain and simple. But what I don’t get is, how come you’re old man is still hangs in there after six years of disinterest on your part? Is he some kind of glutton for punishment?he & she hips

If I was your long-suffering hubby and I was doin all this stuff, including cooking, cleaning and eatin’ out your pussy, I’d sure as hell demand an explanation for your attitude change. Of course, maybe he likes being the doormat. Some men really get off on being dominated and treated like shit. Is that why you are no longer into him, because he’s behaving like an emasculated pussy?

Or is there something else he’s done that has put you off? Did he gain weight? Does he not attend to his personal hygiene? Did he become a Republican? Ya know, things like that. If it is something he’s done or failed to do and he can change his behavior to better suit you, maybe you oughta clue him in on this.

haven't had sex in a whileHowever, if it’s not something he’s done or failed to do, but it’s you. Then he needs to know that too. You did say that you dry up like a prune. Are you using lube with your penetrative sex? Perhaps it’s your libido that’s gone south, not his relative attractiveness? Sometimes women get these two things confused. And there are any number of things that can mess up the arousal phase of your sexual response cycle.

Do you have sexual fantasies? Do you masturbate? Are horny for anyone else — either real or imagined? How’s your health? Are you on birth control? Are you depressed? Sleep deprived? Are you putting on the pounds? Could you be experiencing early-onset menopause? As you can see, there are innumerable reasons for a decrease in libido.

At any rate, Heather, you really need to get to the bottom of this, and soon, six years is a mighty long time to live like this. I’d look for a sex-positive therapist to connect with, if I were you. Clearly, you’ve been unable, in six years, to discern the cause of your attitude change on your own. It’s irresponsible to continue to drift with the status quo.

Good luck

Name: Pete
Gender: Male
Age: 33
Location: Florida
I’ve noticed that some of the skin on my dick is starting to wear away from me masturbating…there is no blood or anything like that. Just the skin turning light in color around head of my dick. I think it’s my grip. Is there a way the color will come back or have I rubbed the skin cells to death. I masturbate about 3-4 times a week. I’m not in a relationship and prefer masturbation over random sex.

Your dick skin is wearing away??? Really? What are you handling your unit with, darlin’, sandpaper?

You say you think it’s your grip. Ya think? Hey Pete, are you using lube when you stroke? Or are you just yanking away down there with wild abandon using a dry hand? If you’re not using a good jack off lube like, Spunk Lube then ya better start right away! This stuff is also great for use with condoms.jeans 1

As to the rather sudden coloration change on your dick, I’d be willing to guess that it has nothing to do with jerkin’ off, even like a maniac. More likely it’s a genetic condition known as vitiligo. And the coloration change is actually a loss in pigment. This is not a health concern. Really! Nor is it contagious. So you don’t have to worry about it in that regard. If it is indeed vitiligo, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s irreversible, but it can and does spread.

Here’s a relatively easy way to self-diagnose this pesky, but benign condition. While naked as a jaybird, squat over a mirror. If what you have is vitiligo, you will also see the same kind of color changes (or more properly — loss of pigment) around your asshole. You may also notice it on your elbows and knees. If you are fair-skinned, the loss of pigment will be less noticeable then if you have a darker complexion.

If it’s not vitiligo, you might consider a check up with your physician. But I pretty much can guarantee you that unless you are absolutely ruthless in your masturbation technique, manhandling yourself is not the cause of the color change on your joystick.

Good luck

The Last Day of April Q&A Show — Podcast #330 — 04/30/12

Hey sex fans,

I have a delectable Q&A show in store for you today to close out the month of April. We will be hearing a bunch of very interesting questions from the sexually worrisome, each will surely amaze and entertain. There’s a distinct religious overtone to some of these questions and there’s also more than a hint of desperation. Oh how I feel their pain.

  • Brian calls in while he’s jerkin’ off.
  • Nick calls in to tell us about his massive ass toys.
  • Richie is troubled by what the Church told him about being gay.
  • Lyn has been around the block a time or ten, her new BF is a virgin.
  • Hamlet is so stressed out he can’t keep his hardon.
  • Éric is wasting his money trying to grow himself a bigger dick. I suggest that he take a look at this POSTING.
  • Dan isn’t even through puberty yet and he’s worried about the size of his willie. I suggest he take a look at this VIDEO.


Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.


Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.


Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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