Scientists have argued about the genetic and hereditary components of addiction for decades. Where addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that affects the reward and motivation centers, it leaves many to wonder how the genetic side impacts it. The medical term for alcoholism and alcohol abuse is Alcohol Use Disorder and it has been linked to some specific genes. It has been become evident that having a close relative, such as a parent or sibling that struggles with alcohol use disorder increases the chances that person will struggle with the same addictions. With that in mind, we at Meehab Addiction Recovery would like to briefly look into the genetic relationship with alcoholism.
Different Between Genetic & Heredity
There are some differences when it comes to genetic versus hereditary diseases, though they are closely linked. Parents pass their genes down to their children so a person with a genetic disease has an abnormality in their genome and a genetic mutation from their parents’ DNA is a person with a hereditary disease. The debate among scientist as to whether alcohol use disorder is hereditary or genetic stems from a larger set of genes that are passed down or from mutations in some genes.
Genetics & Alcohol Use Disorder
In the United States, alcoholism is a serious problem as it is estimated that as many as 18 million adults struggle with an alcohol disorder; that’s one in every 12 people. Additionally, approximately 100,000 people die from alcoholism every year. Genetics contribute to 50% of the underlying causes of alcohol use disorder. If the pleasurable effects are more prominent than the nauseous, overheating, or experiencing mood swings, the individual is more likely to develop the alcohol use disorder. However, though there is a family history if alcoholism doesn’t necessarily mean it get past down. For example, one parent could have blue eye, the other brown, though both genes are past to their child the more dominant gene will manifest. Same is true with the alcohol gene, if it isn’t dominant, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will manifest in the child.
Learned Alcoholic Behaviors
Environment can equally play a part in people developing alcoholism even when not inheriting the genes for alcoholism. Statistics show that the family history of alcoholism is linked to increase the risk of alcohol use disorder, which depends on how close the relatives are to one another. Growing up in environments where immediate and extended families struggle with alcohol abuse can increase to the individual from learned behaviors.
Other Factors Influencing Alcohol Use Disorder
Additional factors that can influence alcohol use disorders include the following:
1) Drinking at an early age: People who start drinking in adolescence increase the likelihood of developing alcohol use disorder. Those who wait until legal drinking age before consuming alcohol are less likely to struggle with alcoholism.
2) History of alcohol abuse: Those at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder as adults are children who were raised in emotionally stressful homes. Kids who particularly verbally, physically, or sexually abused often use alcohol as a way to cope with trauma.
3) Mental health problems: Anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and other such psychiatric conditions are also at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Many believe that alcohol is used in these cases, to self-medicate certain mental health symptoms like mood swings.
Assistance for Those Recovering from Alcoholism
Even if you a have alcoholism in your genes, the mind can still beat the condition. With support from professionals and loved ones you can beat your addictions and stay sober. With Meehab Addiction Recovery by your side, you can kick the addiction. We offer support in the way of treatment and continued help with your alcohol addiction recovery. To learn more, click here. To download our helpful app for free on android, click here. To download for free on iphone, click here. Call Meehab Addiction Recovery today to help you on the road to recovery.