Is Alcoholism Genetic? The Knowledge You Need to Protect Yourself5 min read

Alcohol tolerance is largely determined by a person’s genes and is known as “alcohol dependence syndrome” or ADS. It is estimated that about half of a person’s risk of developing alcoholism is due to genetic factors. Millions of people have had to help loved ones struggling with alcohol addiction get the help that they need. Have you looked 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Sober Living House at your family history and noticed that several relatives had or have drinking problems? However, many other factors determine who develops an alcohol use disorder. It is likely that, as for most complex diseases, alcohol dependence and AUDs
are due to variations in hundreds of genes, interacting with different social

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. Although alcohol is widely consumed, excessive consumption leads to major social, psychological, and physical issues as well as many diseases. Alcoholism is a maladaptive habit of excessive drinking that causes major issues (also known as alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorders). Ultimately, there is a chance of developing AUD when genetic factors are involved.

Is there a drinking gene?

Based on these findings, heredity is one of the risk factors that predispose a person to AUD. Because of a wide range of wild symptoms that blend into each other, recognizing a dual diagnosis can be difficult. The symptoms of each can also look vastly different from one person to the next.

If you or someone you know is currently struggling with alcohol problems, contact us right away for professional support and assistance to get you onto a healthier path. Our genes contain all the instructions necessary to make proteins, the building blocks of life. When you understand why you’re addicted, you can take steps to seek help. Choosing the most effective treatment option starts with understanding the illness.

Environmental Factors for Alcohol Use

Most GWAS are case-control studies or studies of quantitative traits in
unrelated subjects, but family-based GWAS provide another approach. GWAS are
beginning to yield robust findings, although the experience in many diseases is
that very large numbers of subjects will be needed. To date, individual GWAS
studies on alcohol dependence and related phenotypes have been relatively modest
in size, and most do not reach genome-wide significance. This may reflect both
the limited sample sizes and the clinical and genetic heterogeneity of the
disease. As noted above, the functional ADH1B polymorphism is
not represented on GWAS platforms; GABA-receptor genes are often nominally
significant but well below genome-wide significance in these studies. Thus, the
genes and SNPs found through GWAS have had little overlap with previous findings
based on candidate genes/pathways and linkage analyses.

is alcoholism hereditary

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. Environmental factors, as well as gene and environment interactions, account for the remainder of the risk. Among the behavioral traits parents can pass on to their children is a predisposition toward alcohol abuse and addiction. PECR
is located within broad linkage peaks for several alcohol-related traits,
including alcoholism66,
comorbid alcoholism and depression67, level of response to alcohol68, and amplitude of the P3(00)
response69, 70. Alcohol is metabolized primarily in the liver, although there
is some metabolism in the upper GI tract and stomach.

Environmental Factors that Contribute to Alcoholism

Experts continue to learn more and more about addiction, including any genetic (inborn) impacts. Having a support that includes a sponsor has also proven to be very effective and will help the individual understand their addiction, avoid triggers for relapse, and maintain a sober, healthy lifestyle. Some detox facilities in the United States specialize in drug rehab while others focus on alcohol rehab, but many are blended. A sober living home (often called a halfway house or transitional living home) is the next step and helps to establish a routine of sobriety and healthy living. Therapy and social support components as offered in sober living housing, rehabilitation programs, AA meetings which use the 12 step program are a cornerstone in addiction treatment. Environment affects how genes are expressed, and learned behaviors can change how a person perceives drugs or alcohol.

There is a distinct link between substance abuse problems and mental health issues such as anxiety, bipolar disorder,  and depression. It is not that you will automatically start to drink alcohol and get a hangover, but it’s like you’d get more into substance use dependency than others. The ailment can be treated with the help of psychotherapy and other alcohol addiction treatment programs.

Finally, abnormal levels of serotonin (a mood-regulating neurotransmitter) have been linked to people who are predisposed to an AUD. A phenotype is a set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment. How exactly a phenotype is expressed is complicated – for example, a person with one parent with green eyes and one parent with brown eyes has genes for both colors – yet usually, only one color will be expressed. But strong genes are an exception – moreover, a gene responsible for the movement of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in synapses between neurons appears to be a strong gene linked to a higher chance of an AUD. Yet is still unknown how exactly this genetic array ultimately impacts a person’s outcome.

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