Is There An Inherited Family Alcohol Gene?

At this point, you may need professional treatment to start the recovery journey. Even though alcoholism often seems to run in families, there is no single “alcoholism gene.” Genetics certainly influence our likelihood of developing alcoholism, but the story isn’t so simple. Here’s what you need to know about the inheritability of alcohol use disorder and its risk factors. Other risk factors of AUD are mental illness, drinking at an early age, or experiencing trauma. alcoholism genetic statistics Cross-addiction is being addicted to more than one substance at a time or swapping one addiction for another, such as an alcoholic who also becomes addicted to gambling, or replaces drinking with drug use. According to researcher, although alcohol consumption does not affect all people in the same way, differences in endorphin levels make some subjects more vulnerable to alcohol. Keep track of your daily basis, ask yourself – are my drinking habits safe or risky?

can alcoholism be inherited

Therefore, genes alone do not determine whether someone will become an alcoholic. Environmental factors, as well as genetic and environmental interactions, account for the remainder of the risk. However, alcoholism is not determined only by the genes you inherit from your parents.

Support Your Children And Teens And Give Them Space To Grow

In a recent study, alcohol abuse and alcoholism was found to cost the United States nearly $250 billion dollars annually. Offspring of monozygotic and dizygotic twins with a history of AD were significantly more likely to exhibit AA or AD than were offspring of nonalcoholic fathers. Offspring of an alcohol-abusing monozygotic twin whose co-twin was AD were also more likely to exhibit AD than were offspring of nonalcoholic twins. In contrast, offspring of an unaffected monozygotic twin whose co-twin was AD were no more likely to exhibit AA or AD than were offspring of nonalcoholic twins. Environment affects how genes are expressed, and learned behaviors can change how a person perceives drugs or alcohol.

can alcoholism be inherited

Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. The sensitive mice tend to lose their inhibitions and pass out rather quickly, earning them the nickname “long sleepers.” “Short sleepers” are mice that are genetically less sensitive to alcohol. They seem to lose fewer inhibitions and tolerate alcohol for longer before they pass out.

Yes, Alcoholism Is Hereditary But There Are Ways To Fight

If their parents drink heavily, children may also feel that alcohol abuse is normal and acceptable, which places them at a higher risk of alcohol addiction. In addition to affecting alcohol addiction risks, these genetic factors may lead to increased alcohol consumption and heighten the risk of alcohol-related diseases, including certain cancers. In fact, new data suggests that there may be even more genetic variants involved in alcohol dependence. Genetics help determine our traits, behaviors and personality characteristics. Some of these traits are passed down from parents to their children. As a result, it’s possible for families with a history of alcoholism to pass down those tendencies to later generations.

Do Your Genes Up Your Odds for Alcoholism? One Factor Cuts the Risk – U.S. News & World Report

Do Your Genes Up Your Odds for Alcoholism? One Factor Cuts the Risk.

Posted: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Rather than implying that some people are doomed to alcoholism, the findings suggest new ways to identify those at risk and to help prevent them from becoming alcoholics. Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our alcohol abuse treatment program and dedication to individualized care.


Sometimes, that extra nightly glass of wine doesn’t become a problem — but when drinking starts to interfere with work, relationships, hobbies and self-care, it’s time to reassess. Help can take many forms, from enlisting social support to entering formal treatment. The best approach for you depends on how severely alcohol has impacted your life, as well as your health history, needs, and personal goals. At Sprout, we consider all of these factors to help you start your path toward long-term, sustained recovery. Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism.

can alcoholism be inherited

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). This article will discuss whether alcoholism is passed down through biological families and how you can avoid alcoholism if it runs in your family.

Genetics And Addiction: Is Alcoholism Hereditary Or Genetic?

There is a distinct link between substance abuse problems and mental health issues such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. A dual diagnosis (or a diagnosis of two or more co-occurring disorders) is a precipitous, dangerous situation where alcohol use and the mental health Sobriety issues are prone to exacerbating one another. Dual diagnosis with one of the diagnoses being an alcohol use disorder is best treated in an alcohol and mental health treatment program that recognizes the co-occurring disorders and treats both with an integrated approach.

Association of GABRA2 with drug dependence in the collaborative study of the genetics of alcoholism sample. Take our free, 5-minute alcohol abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse.

How Do I Know If I’m Drinking Too Much?

Rather, hundreds of genes can work to increase someone’s predisposition to alcoholism. How a person responds to these genes as well as countless environmental factors are what determines whether he or she develops an alcohol use disorder. Many extensive and large-scale studies have been conducted over the years to explore the genetic risk of AUD. Genetics and family history are the most correlated with risk of AUD; in fact, genetic risk is about half of the problem, while family history is the other half. Certainly, genetics are passed down through families, but family history also includes the environment in which one was raised. Childhood abuse, parental struggles, and mental illness in close family members all contribute to the risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The topic of genetics and an alcohol use disorder only underlines the complexity of alcohol abuse.

  • In general, women and Jews are also more likely than Gentile men to experience such effects from alcohol, Goodwin said.
  • Among those abusing alcohol, people who are genetically predisposed to alcoholism have a higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.
  • Alcohol use disorder is a broad diagnosis that encompasses several commonly used terms describing problems with drinking.
  • Triggers, including a group of friends who drink, certain activities or circumstances can lead someone to fall back into old drinking habits.

Seeking professional help will provide you with the greatest chance for lasting sobriety. The parents’ alcohol abuse is severe and conflicts lead to aggression and violence in the family. Even if your genes do predispose you to alcoholism, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically become an alcoholic. The traits that genes encode in us can be expressed in different ways and we’re learning more every day about how those expressions affect our lives. More than 10% of children within the United States live with a parent who is struggling with an alcohol addiction.

For example, some people of Asian descent carry a gene variant that alters their rate of alcohol metabolism in their bloodstream, causing them to have symptoms like flushing, nausea, and rapid heartbeat when they drink alcohol. When drinking alcohol makes you feel like that, you’re less likely to develop alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder is a diagnosis made when an individual has severe problems related to drinking alcohol.

Recent studies report that drinking before the age of 15 makes young people six times more likely to become an alcoholic or abuse alcohol during their lifetime. While the answer is not cut-and-dry, those with alcoholic parents show an increased risk of alcohol use disorders and developing an addiction to alcohol. There are several other genes that have been shown to contribute to the risk of alcohol dependence as well as key endophenotypes. The earliest genes were typically identified as a result of family-based analyses. In most cases, studies recruited families having multiple members with alcohol dependence; such families are likely to segregate variants that affect the risk of alcohol dependence. The most common initial approach was linkage analysis, in which markers throughout the genome were measured to identify chromosomal regions that appeared to segregate with disease across many families. The drawback to this approach is that linkage studies find broad regions of the genome, often containing many hundreds of genes.

Is There Such A Thing As Hereditary Alcoholism?

Carla is a Filipino freelance health & culture journalist with bylines in Insider, Architectural Digest, Elemental, Observer, and Mental Floss. Outside of writing, she works for local theatre productions as a stage manager and assistant sound operator. However, having AUD in your family doesn’t mean you will definitely develop it. As a member, you’ll also get unlimited access to over 84,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.

This increased risk is likely due in part to shared genetic factors, but it may also be related to environment, lifestyle, and other nongenetic influences that are shared by members of a family. Additional research has shown that alcoholism is more likely among individuals whose parents abuse alcohol, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that alcoholism and genetics are always to blame. For instance, parental alcohol abuse can be linked to other adverse circumstances, such as abuse, neglect and poverty. These difficult situations may lead children to use substances to cope.

can alcoholism be inherited

According to recent research, genetics are responsible for about 50% of a person’s risk of developing alcohol use disorder. It has also been found that people who are predisposed to metabolize alcohol in a certain way are also at an increased risk of alcohol use disorder. More specifically, people who primarily experience the pleasurable effects of alcohol rather than the negative effects have a higher likelihood of alcohol abuse and addiction. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, children of alcoholics are as likely to develop behavioral and emotional problems from having alcoholic parents, as they are to become alcoholics themselves. In fact, one half of all children with alcoholic parents do not become alcoholics. A genetic disposition to alcohol abuse does not mean a person will develop an alcohol use disorder.