Is Alcoholism Hereditary or Genetic
Is Alcoholism Hereditary or Genetic?
It is common to see multiple people in the same biological family with alcohol use disorder. Researchers have found that there is a 50% chance of being predisposed to alcohol addiction, but the specifics of why this is, is still unknown. So, is alcoholism genetic? And are you doomed to suffer addiction if there is a family history of alcohol abuse?
Can a Person Be Born with an Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol abuse disorder happens because of the interaction of genetics, environment, and social factors, therefore a person cannot be born with an alcohol use disorder. Even though a person can have genetic influences that raises their risks of alcohol dependence, genetic influences only account for about half a person’s overall risk to develop an alcohol use disorder. The rest of these risk factors come from social factors and environmental factors that a person is exposed to throughout their childhood and life.
Why Do You Think Alcoholism Seems to Run in Families?
You may have noticed that alcohol abuse tends to run in families, but the actual reasons are still a bit unclear. There is growing evidence that alcohol addiction may have genetic factors. While genes can play a role in developing alcohol addiction, genetics are not destiny.
While most people are aware of the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant, for many who are addicted to alcohol, being pregnant may not stop them. Drinking while pregnant can cause brain damage to the fetus which can result in learning disabilities, problems with motor function, and substance abuse disorder.
Post-birth alcohol exposure could also be another reason why alcoholism appears to run in families. Mothers who drink while breastfeeding can pass on toxic substances to their babies and create an alcohol abuse disorder.
Growing up in a home where alcohol is abundant and seeing family members struggling with alcohol, could be the simplest explanation. Having alcohol consumption around and being exposed to an alcoholic parent, could influence your drinking habits. Combined with genetic predisposition, this could be the reason why alcoholism runs in families.
Is There a Genetic Component to Alcoholism?
Family, twin and adoption studies have shown that alcoholism definitely has a genetic component. Recent studies have attempted to pinpoint exact genes associated with alcoholism, however there are various genes that may play a factor, some directly and others indirectly.
There are also behavioral genes that could influence the risk for alcoholism. For example, mental illness such as depression and bipolar disorder can be passed down. Both mental health issues have a higher risk of turning to substance abuse as a way of coping.
Do You Think Alcoholism is ‘Genetic’ or a Personal Choice?
Genetic predisposition only accounts for about half of the alcoholic equation. There are several other factors that play a role, stress, trauma, and environmental factors. Those with a high genetic risk factor must first be driven by a nonhereditary factor to develop substance abuse disorder, which is often an environmental factor like work-related stress. There are several elements that play a role in someone developing alcohol abuse disorder. Just because someone has genetic predisposition to alcoholism, does not mean they will abuse alcohol.
How Does Addiction Affect Family Life?
Alcoholism creates problems that reach far beyond the person, usually those problems also affect loved ones. It can destroy relationships, drive wedges between members, and cause trauma for several members, especially children. People with alcohol addiction can blow through their family budget, cause fights, ignore children, become violent towards other members, ignore responsibilities, lose their ability to work and income, and much more.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use disorder, there is addiction treatment help. There are countless people with a family history or predisposition associated with alcoholism who have gotten addiction treatment and been successful. There is hope for anyone struggling to get their life back on track. At DayBreak Treatment Solutions, our comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment center will tailor an alcohol detox and alcohol recovery treatment plan for your unique situation to give you the best chance of inpatient treatment. Please do not hesitate, get help today. Give us a call at (844) 695-0083 and start your path to alcohol recovery.