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Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder: Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

Is Alcoholism HereditaryWhen it comes to alcoholism, it is not uncommon for it appear to run in the family from generation to generation. But is alcoholism actually hereditary? Are there some people who are just more prone to becoming alcoholic than others?

Related: Alcoholism Is A Disease

Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

Family genetics does play a part, but it is not the entire reason. There isn’t just one gene that separates alcoholism from the rest. Multiple genes combined can create a predisposition for alcoholism later in life. In the same respect, there are other genes which, when combined, have a very different effect on a person’s reaction to alcohol. For example, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) reported that in some people of Asian descent, a genetic variant can determine the amount of alcohol that the body can metabolize. The resulting metabolic effect causes them to have side effects like flushing, rapid heartbeat, and nausea when they consume alcohol. Those who experience these symptoms may be less likely to drink alcohol heavily, or at all.

Other Factors The Lead To Alcoholism

Although some may be more prone to becoming alcoholics than others, there are still so many unknowns. Factors like length and amount of drinking, physical health issues, mental health issues, or traumatic life events can contribute to becoming an alcoholic. One of the main diagnostic factors of alcoholism is the obsession over alcohol combined with the inability to put down the drink. Without the alcohol consumption, it is near impossible to determine alcoholism. There is no identifying blood test like cancer or diabetes to help determine if someone has an allergy to alcohol (yet).

It is difficult to determine exactly who will and who will not become an alcoholic. If you have alcoholism in your family history, be aware that you likely have a similar genetic combination, which makes you more susceptible to becoming an alcoholic. The best defense is to not pick up that first drink. Without the first drink, you can’t become an alcoholic – even if it is in your genes.

There Is Still Hope For Alcoholics

If you feel like you do have an alcohol abuse problem, then it is time to seek help before the line is crossed into alcoholism. Either way, there is hope and healing for those who suffer from alcohol abuse as well as alcoholism. Click here for more information about alcohol abuse disorder, alcoholism, and treatment methods.

Need help now? Call 1-800-439-5959.

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