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Is Alcoholism Genetic? Why Alcohol Use Disorder Runs in Families

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. There are several other genes that have been shown to contribute to the risk
of alcohol dependence as well as key endophenotypes.

«Men have an approximately two- to three-fold higher likelihood in developing AUD,» says Adinoff. Women generally consume less alcohol, but they achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood, which makes them more susceptible to organ damage. In 1849, the Swedish physician Magnus Huss was the first to define excessive drinking as a disease. He distinguished between “acute alcoholic disease or intoxication” and “alcoholismus chronicus.” However, this recognition did not prevail for a long time. Elvin Morton Jellinek, who worked for the World Health Organization (WHO), gained worldwide acceptance in 1951 with his view, inspired by his work with Alcoholics Anonymous, that the condition was a disease. Alcoholism, also called alcohol use disorder or AUD, occurs when the body has an uncontrollable urge to consume alcohol.


Although addiction can be caused by specific genes, someone is not born with an alcohol use disorder. As mentioned above, only about half of one’s genetic predisposition to alcoholism comes from hereditary addiction. The remaining risk factors evolve from environmental and social factors that people encounter during childhood and as they age. Although alcoholism and genetics are linked, it is crucial to remember that a family history of alcoholism does not guarantee the development of alcoholism. For example, it can be challenging to separate the effects of genetics from environmental factors, such as upbringing or social influences. Additionally, not all individuals with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism will develop an alcohol use disorder.

Among the behavioral traits that parents can pass on to their children is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Many adult children of alcoholic parents have wondered, “is alcoholism genetic? Banyan Treatment Centers Texas is addressing whether or not alcoholism is hereditary or genetic and the signs of alcoholism you should be aware of. To date, GWAS have
focused on common variants, with allele frequencies of 5% or higher.

Understanding the Genetics Behind Alcoholism

Many people wonder whether alcohol tolerance is inherited and whether it is linked to alcohol addiction. Alcohol tolerance refers to the body’s ability to handle large amounts of alcohol without experiencing the same effects as before. The more frequently a person drinks over time, the more alcohol tolerance can develop.

Is smoking genetic?

Twin and family studies have shown that there is not one specific gene that determines who will develop a smoking addiction but rather several genes that cause an individual to become more susceptible to being addicted to nicotine.

The earliest genes were
typically identified as a result of family-based analyses. In most cases, studies
recruited families having multiple members with alcohol dependence; such families
are likely to segregate variants that affect the risk of alcohol dependence. The
most common initial approach was linkage analysis, in which markers throughout the
genome were measured to identify chromosomal regions is alcoholism inherited that appeared to segregate with
disease across many families. The drawback to this approach is
that linkage studies find broad regions of the genome, often containing many
hundreds of genes. In many cases, the initial linkage studies were followed by more
detailed genetic analyses employing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were
genotyped at high density across the linked regions.

Does Alcoholism Run in Families?

Family, twin, and adoption studies have shown that alcoholism definitely has a genetic component. In 1990, Blum et al. proposed an association between the A1 allele of the DRD2 gene and alcoholism. The DRD2 gene was the first candidate gene that showed promise of an association with alcoholism. Getting treatment for a family member who suffers from alcohol use disorder is paramount for them to be healthy long-term.

Family members may offer help in the treatment process by providing support and encouragement and being a source of accountability for their loved ones. In some cases, family therapy may be beneficial to address any family dynamics or issues that may contribute to the https://ecosoberhouse.com/ person’s addiction. One common approach is behavioral therapy, which can help individuals cultivate the skills needed to cope with the challenges of recovery and avoid relapse. At Iris Healing®, you’ll find some of California’s top holistic alcoholism treatments.

In summary, it seems there are several reasons that alcohol abuse can run in families. These include both genetics and environmental factors, and possibly even a combination of the two. When raised in the exact same environment, identical twins seem more likely to share the same addiction patterns than fraternal twins. While other factors might affect this, it strongly suggests that genes have some impact on alcohol abuse.

Researchers have also identified specific genes and gene variants that may contribute to an increased risk of developing alcoholism. Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of abusing alcohol are at an increased risk of developing AUD or a substance abuse disorder. The community in which a person is raised may also account for the development of these disorders.

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