If your parents are hard drinkers, you run the same risks as you age into adulthood. Your habits, preferences, and social connections can also determine whether or not you develop alcoholism. When a person abuses alcohol or another drug on a regular basis, they can develop some resistance to the effects of the substance. In the case of alcohol, this means that they may need to drink more than they used to in order to become intoxicated. Decades of research tells us that there may be a genetic component to alcoholism.

A study from 2008 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) examined research on AUD and a possible genetic association. The study found that genetic factors accounted for 40-60% of the variance among those who suffer from an AUD. Since that time, certain genes that contribute to AUD have been discovered, and they correlate with the reward center of the brain and how it develops. While heredity and genetics are closely linked words, they can mean different things from a medical perspective.

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Multiple genes that contribute to susceptibility have been discovered over the past 20 years. A much more complete picture of the numerous genes and pathways that influence risk will be found as larger samples are put together and more variations are examined. Technologies for whole genomic and whole genome sequencing are being used to find uncommon variants as their costs decrease.

Family studies have consistently demonstrated that there is a substantial
genetic contribution to alcohol dependence. Over the past two decades, several genes
underlying susceptibility have been identified. Extensive study of the alcohol
metabolizing genes has demonstrated their important role in disease risk.

Alcoholism: An Overview

But it was significantly higher among the twins whose biological fathers were alcoholics. There is growing evidence that there is a genetic connection to alcoholism. Studies of laboratory animals and human test subjects indicate that genetic factors play a major role in the development of alcoholism, but it isn’t yet known how big a factor. It is generally a situation where a person requires excessive levels of alcohol just to feel the buzz and desired effects.

  • Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women and five or more drinks on a single occasion for men.
  • The University of Washington and the University of Queensland conducted a large-scale male and female twin study involving 5,889 participants.
  • If you have alcoholic parents, there’s some cause for caution, but you can adopt protections for safety.
  • A history of abuse – children who grew up in stressful environments, particularly those who were physically, verbally, or sexually abused are at a heightened risk of suffering from an AUD in adulthood.

You’ll also learn what contributes to your alcohol use disorder and how to manage it. The research focuses on total genetical information about the individual to find whether there is a connection between excessive drinking and alcoholism. There is a massive number of genes that get afflicted by alcoholism, and to get findings from all of them isn’t currently possible.

Is there a drinking gene?

Particularly affected is the upper digestive tract, colon, rectum, and liver. The oral cavity and esophagus receive exposure to high levels of alcohol. It is not surprising that alcohol consumption contributes to diseases of the gastrointestinal system, such as pancreatitis, and cancers of the upper GI tract. AUD is correlated to lower sober house intelligence and the likelihood of quitting smoking and a greater risk of insomnia and most mental health disorders. You will then receive personalized treatment tailored to your unique needs. We have effective programs led by experienced professionals to help you learn new life skills that will benefit you on the road to recovery.

is alcoholism inherited