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Sober living

Alcoholism and Genetics: Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

«Other factors aside from genes, such as the environment, clearly play a role in developing alcohol use disorder,» says Fiellin. They can couple with genetic risk and result in permissive attitudes toward heavy drinking and intoxication, he says. Many extensive and large-scale studies have been conducted over the years to explore the genetic risk of AUD. Concerns about alcohol consumption should be addressed by a medical professional. Feeling out of control in regard to drinking and feeling as though one drinks too much are indicators that there is a problem. Medically supervised detox programs and evidence-based rehabilitation programs are available that specialize in treating AUD.

Additionally, not all mental health issues are the same; some mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, require vastly different considerations than anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other co-occurring disorders. Any use of alcohol is not recommended if an underlying mental health condition is present, and overuse of alcohol should be considered a huge warning flag for the development of progressive alcoholism. There is a distinct link between substance abuse problems and mental health issues such as anxiety, bipolar disorder,  and depression. Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for AUD. Therefore, genes alone do not determine whether someone will develop AUD.

Factors influencing AUD

Not only is alcoholism a progressive disease, but it is also a fatal one. You or your family member can get the proper help needed to overcome alcoholism or problematic drinking and are not bound to addiction by heredity or genetics. Children of alcoholic parents or grandparents often struggle with problem drinking themselves. More recent studies digging deep into the science behind this disease are trying to discover if there is a genetic predisposition for alcoholism.

  • Analyses of 987 people from 105 families in the initial sample provided evidence that regions on 3 chromosomes contained genes that increase the risk for alcoholism (Reich et al. 1998).
  • If you have a parent or close relative who has alcohol use disorder (AUD), you may wonder if you’re at risk for developing it yourself.
  • Before this groundbreaking study, studies showed that alcohol abuse runs in families, but it could not point to the genetic basis of this finding.
  • However, it does mean you should take extra precautions as you could have a strong susceptibility toward alcoholism.

A growing body of scientific evidence seems to confirm alcoholism and a genetic predisposition. This means if you have more than one close relative with an alcohol use disorder, you may have inherited genes that put you at risk. As an article published on Psychology Today discusses, studies of twins have revealed helpful information about the connection between genes and an alcohol use disorder.

Candidate gene studies of AUD and related traits

When released, dopamine creates pleasure, and as well as being released naturally through rewarding activities such as eating or cuddling, dopamine is released by many illicit substances. Join the thousands of people that have is alcoholism inherited called a treatment provider for rehab information. †Note that the official names of several ADH genes have been changed, and the
literature has been confused by some groups using non-standard names for some of
the genes29.

Human behavior is extremely unpredictable and relies on a multitude of factors. Alcoholism is hereditary to an extent, but is not determined by genetic makeup alone; much more factors into addiction. This is NOT to say that alcohol abuse can be justified by your parents having drank. However, genetically speaking, exactly how much of that choice is yours becomes complicated. Alcoholism is a disease, yes, but it happens to be one of the only diseases you can fully prevent with healthy decisions.

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