Everything about a person, from eye color to behavior, can be explained by their genes. The way a person develops might also be affected by genetic variations. For example, some persons are genetically prone to drinking because of differences in genes and variations. You don’t have to stress out as there is a solution to every problem, and if your drinking problem has worsened, there can be a diagnosis, and you will get back to life with the proper treatment.
Alcohol metabolism is linked to hereditary prospects as some people get allergic reactions and health repercussions after consuming alcohol. While there are differences between genetics and heredity, the terms are mostly interchangeable when talking about alcohol addiction. Research is proving that alcoholism is a complex genetic disease, and there are many genes that affect its risks. For example, the ADH1B and ALDH2 genes have been shown to have strong effects on alcoholism risks. Other genes, including GABRA2, CHRM2, KCNJ6, and AUTS2, may also significantly affect risks.
Can Alcoholism Run in Families?
Having a support that includes a sponsor has also proven to be very effective and will help the individual understand their addiction, avoid triggers for relapse, and maintain a sober, healthy lifestyle. Some detox facilities in the United States specialize in drug rehab while others focus on alcohol rehab, but many are blended. A sober living home (often called a halfway house or transitional living home) is the next step and helps to establish a routine of sobriety and healthy living. Therapy and social support components as offered in sober living housing, rehabilitation programs, AA meetings which use the 12 step program are a cornerstone in addiction treatment. Families, where the annual household income is more than $75,000, have a greater likelihood of having a family member suffer from alcohol use disorder. Alcohol is not inexpensive and if someone can’t afford to drink, they simply won’t be able to do so.
While this correlation can impact whether a person inherits certain genetic mutations that make them vulnerable to an AUD, growing up in an environment affected by addiction can also predispose an individual to the disease. Hugo Bellen, a geneticist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, said the study “lays the foundation for a genetic approach to dissecting the acute, and possibly the chronic, effects” of alcohol in people. 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.
Genetics Of Alcoholism
Given the lack of current treatment options for substance use disorder, the researchers also conducted analyses of a publicly available drug database to identify potential new treatments for substance abuse. Won, assistant professor of genetics and member of the UNC Neuroscience Center, and colleagues identified genes sober house linked to cigarette smoking and drinking. The researchers found that these genes are over-represented in certain kinds of neurons – brain cells that trigger other cells to send chemical signals throughout the brain. Based on these findings, heredity is one of the risk factors that predispose a person to AUD.
The research on epigenetics and alcohol is still developing, but some studies suggest there is a link. Alcohol may be one of the substances that can alter the expression of your genes. In other words, excessive drinking as an adult could impact your DNA, and even alter the genes you pass down to your children. This might increase the likelihood that they will also develop alcohol use disorder. No, the factors of environment and genes are responsible for a person’s alcohol use as the genetic variants and environment make a person inclined towards alcohol.
Is there a drinking gene?
First, there may be something about identical twin males, genetically speaking, that makes them more likely to express an alcohol use disorder if one twin has one as compared to females (50 percent versus 30 percent). As researchers have noted, other genes (beyond the cluster that NIDA found) can play a role in the development of an alcohol use disorder. Second, if an identical twin has a sister or brother who has an alcohol use disorder, the odds are not that they will also develop one. Among males, it’s 50 percent, not 51 percent, which would mean that the development of an alcohol use disorder was more likely than not. As we have learned more about the role genes play in our health, researchers have discovered that different factors can alter the expression of our genes. Scientists are learning more and more about how epigenetics can affect our risk for developing AUD.
How does alcohol get into the brain?
Alcohol enters your bloodstream through the stomach lining and through the wall of the small intestine. Once in the blood, alcohol is quickly transported around your body, including to the brain (1). Alcohol passes from the blood into brain tissue, where it acts on neurons.
The most obvious of these are the genes that cause “alcohol flush reaction”—most common in people of Asian descent. It makes sense that a person with an allergic reaction to alcohol would be less likely to abuse it. But several other genes also appear to make a difference, in more subtle ways. Your alcohol consumption will increase if you are dealing with chronic stress from work, relationships or other sources.
More accurately called alcohol use disorder, it’s “a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse…consequences.”2 It is a medical condition, a brain disorder. It can be treated and managed in the same way as other medical conditions. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, affecting the reward and motivation centers, and it is also a genetic problem.
These steps can include avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption, seeking support from friends and family, and engaging in healthy coping strategies to manage stress and other challenges in life. The environment may also determine whether a person develops alcoholism. For example, studies have shown that people with families who abuse alcohol are more likely to develop the disorder. But this risk increases if exposed to environments that encourage alcohol abuse.