Can You Inherit Alcoholism?

Can You Inherit Alcoholism?

Children of alcoholics are 400% more likely than the general population to develop a dependence upon alcohol

A great deal of research has been done over the past several decades to determine if alcoholism can be inherited, particularly in light of the many families with a history of alcoholism across generations. The answer is a murky one because of the interplay between genetics and modeling in the family. If you or a loved one in California is worried about the risk of developing alcoholism, find out what you can do to prevent alcohol abuse.

The Inescapable Impact of Genetics

Research has proven that genes do play a direct role in increasing the risk of alcoholism for any individual. Children of alcoholics are approximately 400% more likely than the general population to develop a dependence upon alcohol.

At the same time, there are genes that can indirectly reduce a person’s propensity for developing alcoholism. For example, one gene variant common in those of Asian descent causes an individual to have symptoms like flushing, nausea and rapid heartbeat when they drink, which can make drinking unappealing.

There Is More to Alcoholism than Genetics

While genetics plays a role in enhancing the risk for alcoholism, it is not the only factor. How parents and other close family members treat each other and deal with stress, the presence of mental illness in the home, and whether there was physical and/or emotional abuse are other factors that may impact an individual’s risk of alcoholism.

Alcoholism Is Not Predetermined

The best news is that alcoholism is not predetermined, no matter how powerful the risk factors might look. Statistics shows that more than 50% of children from alcoholic families do not develop an alcohol addiction. Here are three practical steps any individual concerned about a history of alcoholism can take to limit the risk of developing an addiction:

  • Avoid underage drinking. Those who begin drinking early in life increase the risk of developing an addiction later in life. Plus, underage drinking is by definition illegal.
  • Only drink moderately as an adult. It is generally accepted that alcohol consumption should be limited to one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men. Stepping outside these guidelines increases the physical and social consequences of drinking.
  • Seek professional help. If you are struggling with an alcohol problem, it can feel overwhelming. This is especially true if the genetic and social components of your life seem to make a life of alcoholism feel inevitable.

If you or a loved one in California is struggling with alcoholism, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.

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