Some families have multiple members who experience alcoholism. This often leads to the question: is alcoholism hereditary? If your father is an alcoholic, is there a good chance you might be as well? Many studies have covered this topic, and what most experts found is that there are several factors that cause alcoholism.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Alcoholism or alcohol use disorders can develop from several factors. After long periods of drinking, your mind becomes accustomed to and looks for alcohol to produce certain chemicals in your brain to feel certain emotions. This dependence is what makes it hard for those suffering from alcohol abuse to quit drinking.
Factors that affect the development of alcoholism include genetic factors, environmental factors, social factors, and psychological factors. Is alcoholism hereditary? It’s more complicated than that of a simple “yes” or “no.”
Can Alcoholism Be Genetic?
Several studies suggest that genetics may play a risk factor in the development of alcoholism. Studies between families, twins, and adoptions have shown the presence of a genetic component in alcoholism. The next question is, is there a gene that causes alcoholism?
Evidence showed that there was a connection between alcoholism and the A1 allele of the DRD2 gene. This gene was the first of its kind to be associated with alcoholism.
Further, a study in Sweden in which twins were adopted as children and grew up apart showed that while alcoholism depended on the environmental factors of their adopted family, there was a higher incidence of alcoholism in twins who had biological fathers.
While there were many other studies that tried to connect alcoholism and genetics, none have been able to pinpoint an exact gene that has a direct effect on the former. Some studies even suggest that alcoholic dependence may be associated with up to 51 different genes in various chromosome regions.
However, what we have to remember is that genetics is just a smaller part of all the things that can contribute to alcoholism. Having possible genes that may be linked to it does not necessarily mean that one will become an alcoholic. It does not dictate what happens to you but it does increase one’s risk and susceptibility. The good thing about this is that this could help in identifying those who are prone to or at risk of alcoholism so that preventive care can be applied. For these people, it helps to prepare them to understand their limitations and drink in moderation.
Other Factors That Cause Alcoholism
Genetics make up just one part of alcoholism. One of the other important factors is the environment in which a person lives. The more people drink around them, the more chances that the person will drink, themselves. Another factor might be if a person lives near establishments that sell alcohol. Normalizing the sight of daily drinking alcohol will give a person a more positive view of drinking, making them more likely to do the same.
Social factors also affect one’s perception about alcohol. If you have friends who drink a lot, there is a huge possibility that you will adopt the same behavior because of your inclination to belong. This is called peer pressure and is one likely start of drinking alcohol. The influence of other people, especially family and friends, plays a key part in the development of alcoholism.
For many, drinking can be a means to cope with different psychological problems like stress, anxiety, depression, and other issues. As such, people experiencing these problems have higher risks of developing alcoholism. Usually, drinking alcohol suppresses these negative feelings and provides some temporary relief.
If you are suffering from alcoholism or know someone who is, the most important thing is immediate addiction treatment through detox and therapy. While this may not be easy, enrolling in a recovery facility is a good start. Haven House Recovery Center is a Christ-based alcohol and drug rehab in Nashville for men. We provide different physical, spiritual, and emotional activities to help addicts cope with the underlying problems that they are experiencing while at the same time helping them avoid destructive life behaviors. Enroll with us today and start your journey toward a new life!