Genetics Of Alcoholism: Hereditary Factors Of Alcohol Use

March 22, 2022 | Tags: Sober living

If you have a parent or close family member who struggles with alcoholism, you’re much more likely to have a problem with alcohol abuse than your counterparts. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that genes account for about half of your risk for developing an alcohol addiction. However, developing an alcohol use disorder typically involves a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. A family history of alcoholism does put you at higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll become addicted to alcohol or that you can’t break the cycle of addiction.

The NIDA study found that the genes involved in alcohol abuse were concentrated in 51 chromosomal areas in the body. The genes involved are players in a variety of basic body function, such as cell-to-cell communications, the control of protein synthesis, cell-to-cell interactions, and regulation development. It may be that dysregulation in these areas makes a person vulnerable to alcohol or other drug abuse. is alcoholism inherited That fact that the dysregulation or problems can be encoded in the genes means that parents can pass these genes on to their children who in turn pass them on to their children, and so on. Some studies demonstrate the genetic predisposition to develop the disease of alcoholism. That is, some people do not tolerate alcohol, and their consumption causes headaches, nausea, etc., even in small quantities.

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While genetics and family contribute to addiction, social and environmental factors also play a huge role. If alcoholism runs in your family, that doesn’t mean you are fated to become an alcoholic. However, it does mean you should take extra precautions as you could have a strong susceptibility toward alcoholism. Many of the existing genetic experiments examining substance abuse and addiction involve mice, which are bred to be good analogues of human genetics. However, there are few long-term studies that have conclusively linked specific genetic traits to humans who struggle with AUD. It is pretty well understood that high-stress environments and trauma are linked to alcohol use disorder, so appropriate therapy to manage these mental and behavioral conditions is extremely important.

is alcoholism inherited

Each individual risk factor added to a childhood household (including lack of parental supervision, unchecked aggressive behavior, and availability of alcohol) can contribute to an increase in the likelihood of substance abuse. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing an alcohol use disorder or addiction. “Other factors aside from genes, such as the environment, clearly play a role in developing alcohol use disorder,” says Fiellin.

Genetics and Alcoholism

Furthermore, in collaboration with a co-author from the University of Texas, the researchers took brain samples of deceased people who suffered from alcohol use disorder. There is evidence that heavy episodic (binge) drinking, which results in
exposure of tissues to high levels of alcohol, is particularly harmful81, 87, 88. Binge drinking
is generally defined as a man consuming 5 standard drinks within 2 hours; women are typically smaller and have a lower percentage of body water, so 4 standard
drinks can reach similar alcohol levels. A standard drink is defined in the US as 12
ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of spirits, all of which approximate
14 g of pure ethanol).

is alcoholism inherited

With addiction, we always recommend being compassionate yet proactive and to seek alcohol addiction help immediately if the problems with alcohol in your family have progressed into a dangerous situation. Growing up around alcohol alone will not cause an individual to develop an alcohol use disorder, and it can increase the chance of engaging in alcohol use that could sow the seeds of progressive alcoholism. The University of Cambridge published a review of 12 studies involving twins and adopted children.