The Connection Between Genetics and Alcohol Addiction


A common perception of alcohol addiction is that it’s hereditary. This isn’t wholly accurate, but there is a connection between genetics and alcohol addiction. People who have parents who struggle with alcoholism are two to four times more likely to develop the disorder themselves. Often, the Amazing fact about Detoxification in Drug Rehab.

This is because a person’s genes are essential in determining their risk for developing alcoholism. Scientists are beginning to understand the underlying genetic differences that can make someone more likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs. Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine are working hard to find ways to treat these underlying genetic issues that cause some people to be more susceptible to addictive substances.

The scientists who conducted the study used new methods to identify genes that could contribute to alcoholism. They analyzed DNA samples from more than 50,000 people to see how many different genes might influence the likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder. The gene that stood out most clearly was a variant of the ADH1B gene, which regulates how quickly the body metabolizes alcohol. This gene mutates most often in people who are struggling with alcohol dependency. Variants of this gene can increase the speed at which alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which has a bitter taste and unpleasant side effects that may deter drinking.

Besides the ADH1B gene, the team found several other genetic variants that might affect a person’s susceptibility to AUD. The team also looked at gene variants that might affect how much a person drinks and whether they engage in compulsive behavior around alcohol. They found that some genes contributing to a person’s propensity for alcohol addiction were also associated with other neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia.

In addition to finding new genetic variants that might increase a person’s risk of AUD, the researchers hope their work will help them understand how alcohol dependency develops. They believe that the more they know about how genes and the environment interact, the more they can develop effective treatment strategies.

Even though some people are more likely to become alcoholics than others, no one is “born” an alcoholic. Genetic predisposition to alcoholism is a warning sign, but environmental and social factors must be present to activate this gene. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, get help immediately. Alcoholism is a treatable disease; treatment can help you regain control of your life.

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