Home / Is Alcoholism Hereditary? An In-Depth Explanation


Is Alcoholism Hereditary? An In-Depth Explanation

Genetics can play a huge role in the transmission and manifestation of alcoholism in the family. Alcohol is a prevalent substance in society and it is easily accessible by the population. Small amounts are not dangerous, but frequent and larger consumption of alcohol can lead to the development of alcoholism, which in turn can become hereditary.

Genetics And Alcoholism

Research suggests that genetics can play a huge role in determining whether or not an offspring can develop alcoholism. Further studies indicate that about 45% to 65% of alcohol-related risks are hereditary. This means that children who come from a family with a history of alcoholism are twice more likely to develop alcoholism compared to the rest of the population.

Is There A Specific Gene For Alcoholism?

There is no specific gene for such a complex disease but there is a collection of genes that may increase the likelihood of its transmission. The ADH1B and ALDH2 genes are two examples of genes that are correlated to alcoholism risks. Other examples include the genes GABRA2, CHRM2, KCNJ6, and AUTS2. These genes also increase the risk for alcoholism-related diseases, the most common of which include:

  • Liver damage
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • Higher risk for cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to control alcohol consumption

Factors For Hereditary Alcoholism

Hereditary alcoholism differs from genetic alcoholism. Genetic alcoholism pertains to the transfer of genetic material that pertains to alcoholism. This means that the entire genetic unit is passed on to the individual and it is part of their genetic blueprint. This may also be considered as hereditary alcoholism.

Hereditary alcoholism is when a person’s genes get mutated as it is passed down from one generation to another. In other words, the hereditary traits may intensify and evolve according to the person’s environment.

There are two types of factors that affect hereditary alcoholism: social factors and environmental factors.

Social Factors

Social factors refer to the social network surrounding an individual. This includes the people they constantly interact with as well as the general society that surrounds them. There are regulations in place that do not allow underage drinking which means that teens should generally be protected against these risks. However, teens can still be surrounded by peers who have access to alcohol and they may be pressured into consumption at such an early age. There is also a trend of faking IDs and credentials so that they can purchase alcohol themselves.

Social factors highly influence a person’s actions simply because people are naturally malleable by the community that surrounds them. For example, a family’s stance on alcohol consumption will mold every member’s stance on it, whether they are pro or anti. A person who is constantly surrounded by friends and peers who drink a lot may pick up the habit of drinking a lot as well, which may escalate to alcoholism. The body may unknowingly get used to certain amounts of alcohol which snowballs into dependence and eventually, an addiction.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors likewise play a huge role in molding a person’s susceptibility to alcoholism. People who grew up in poverty-stricken areas or abusive households are associated with alcohol dependency. Other factors include unstable family relations, lack of reliable role models, and socioeconomic disadvantages.

Conversely, there are environmental factors that can reduce the likelihood of alcoholism. These factors include increased career opportunities, education, healthy social networks, and stable family environments.

Tips For Reducing The Likelihood Of Alcoholism

Alcohol is a prevalent member of society. It is easily accessible since it is available in most social gatherings. Alcohol is safe when consumed in reasonable amounts and people like it because of the “buzz” it gives. However, this is the exact same characteristic that makes it susceptible to abuse. Individuals may turn to alcohol to experience some form of relief or escape from their current predicament. 

Here are some tips to reduce alcoholism risks:

Learn about your family history

Analyze your family’s current stance and historical relationship with alcohol. If you have family members with a history of alcohol abuse, then you possess an increased risk of developing the illness yourself. Make sure to be mindful of your alcohol consumption so that you won’t drink more than necessary. Be aware of your personal limits.

Do not drink when you are underage

Underage drinking is not only illegal but also increases the likelihood of alcoholism. Drinking at such a young age may lead to irresponsible drinking and alcohol dependence.

Consider counseling

If you feel like you are no longer in control of your drinking habits, then it is time to seek counseling. Professional help from licensed counselors can do a lot of preventative measures to ensure that the problem is targeted at its root.

Observe your social circles

Are you surrounded by friends who drink a lot? Does your company consist of people who drink at the slightest inconvenience? Do you feel comfortable with their drinking habits? If not, it is time to extract yourself to avoid constant exposure to such occurrences.

Watch out for symptoms of alcoholism

Alcohol dependency manifests in varying severities. If you are not aware of the symptoms of the disease, then you might be unable to catch it until it is way worse. Read our blog for more information on the symptoms of alcoholism.

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Recovery from alcoholism does not need to be lonely. The path is long and arduous enough as it is so R&R Recovery is here to help. Contact us for individualized assessment and treatment today.

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