Is alcoholism a genetic trait?

By Daniel Piel

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what do you think?

Many scientific studies, including research conducted among twins and children of alcoholics, have shown that genetic factors influence alcoholism. These findings show that children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems. Children of alcoholics also have a higher risk for many other behavioral and emotional problems. But alcoholism is not determined only by the genes you inherit from your parents. In fact, more than one–half of all children of alcoholics do not become alcoholic. Research shows that many factors influence your risk of developing alcoholism. Some factors raise the risk while others lower it.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/FamilyHistory/famhist.htm

what can happen?

Genes are not the only things children inherit from their parents. How parents act and how they treat each other and their children has an influence on children growing up in the family. These aspects of family life also affect the risk for alcoholism. Researchers believe a person's risk increases if he or she is in a family with the following difficulties:

Addictive Behavior


When substance abuse becomes a part of person’s life, addictive behavior can become destructive to that person and their loved ones. Our integrated treatment model compassionately treats the addiction to and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Mental Health Issue

Many people who struggle with addiction have underlying mental health issues. One cannot expect addictive behavior to stop without addressing these issues, like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many others.

What are alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence?

Alcohol abuse means having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking every day or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can harm your relationships, cause you to miss work, and lead to legal problems such as driving while drunk (intoxicated). When you abuse alcohol, you continue to drink even though you know your drinking is causing problems.

If you continue to abuse alcohol, it can lead to alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence is also called alcoholism. You are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You have a strong need, or craving, to drink. You feel like you must drink just to get by.

You might be dependent on alcohol if you have three or more of the following problems in a year:

  • You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
  • You need to drink more to get the same effect.
  • You have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, andanxiety.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking, or you have given up other activities so you can drink.
  • You have tried to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink but haven't been able to.
  • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.

Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) disease. It's not a weakness or a lack of willpower. Like many other diseases, it has a course that can be predicted, has known symptoms, and is influenced by your genes and your life situation.

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