While many are familiar with Robert Downey Jr.'s drug history, it’s not as publicized that his son, Indio Downey has also been struggling with addiction problems. Indio, who is 20 years old, was recently arrested for cocaine possession, and in October of last year went to treatment for prescription drug addiction.
In a press statement, his father said: “Unfortunately there’s a genetic component to addiction and Indio has likely inherited it… we’re all determined to rally behind him and help him become the man he’s capable of being.”
Whether a person chooses to use drugs and alcohol remains independent, influenced by their social environment, friends, family, and availability or access. But when an individual with a genetic predisposition engages in substance abuse, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence increases exponentially.
The defining factors determining a genetic predisposition can vary depending on the research, but typically this is referring to whether parents struggled with addiction. But similar to many other genetically predisposing conditions- like risk for cancer or heart disease, sometimes genetic occurrences can be scattered throughout the family.
Robert Downey Jr.'s drug history has been well documented like any one of the characters he plays in movies. He’s had numerous court appearances for criminal behavior while intoxicated, and multiple trips to rehab. When getting sober in 2001, however, it seemed to stick, and the actor has demonstrated a sense of humor about who he has been in the past and gratitude for his sobriety today.
That his life today in recovery reflects a freedom from drugs and alcohol bodes well for his son, that he will have support and a positive example. While having a genetic, family predisposition can make encountering substance abuse problems more common, it certainly doesn’t make facing the hard work involved in getting honest and having a desire to stop any easier.