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Is Alcoholism Genetic?

February 05, 2016

It seems like some people can have as many drinks as they want and never form an addiction, while for others just a few drinks puts them at risk for alcoholism. Is this purely an environmental phenomenon or does genetics have something to do with it? The simple answer is both. A person is responsible for making their own decision, which includes taking that first sip. However, those who have a family history of alcoholism are at a higher risk for forming an addiction.

Genetics makes up 50% of an influencing factor when it comes to alcohol addiction. Children of alcoholic parents are four times more likely to form a dependency on liquor. That is not the only factor when it comes to alcohol abuse. Addiction functions as a rewiring of the brain. If individuals drink often enough, for specific reasons, than the brain associates the drink to a solution. For example, if a person starts drinking when they are stressed, the brain registers alcohol as a way of coping. This can make the person dependent on the drink, craving it any time things go wrong.

Does this mean that people with alcohol issues in their families will be alcoholics? Of course not! Half of all children of alcoholics do not form a dependency. Alcoholism is influenced by other factors outside of genetics. These factors can include societal views on drinking, environment, expectations of drinking, and one’s own response to alcohol. However, those with a genetic connection to alcoholism should be more careful.

At Turning Point, we understand how debilitating alcohol addiction can be. It can consume you. If you or a loved one has formed a dependence on alcohol, contact our rehab facility today. We offer solutions so that you can carry on with your life. Call today for an appointment with our New Jersey detox facility.

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