Does alcoholism run in your family, and are you afraid that you would inherit this dangerous ailment? This article tries to determine whether there exists a relation between alcohol addiction and heredity.
Alcoholism is an addiction, that develops when a person over indulges in the consumption of alcohol. In 1991, the American Medical Association declared it as a disease, which can be fatal if not cured at the proper time. Imbibing alcohol has existed in our society since ages, and even today it is considered as a part of the social life. Although drinking moderately is not harmful, it becomes a problem when a person consumes alcohol excessively, affecting not only his health but also the people around him. When an individual overly indulges in alcohol, it leads to alcohol abuse, where a person does not stop drinking even though he or she has to face problems in personal, social, and professional life. Alcohol abuse, if not given timely treatment, can lead to alcohol dependence, where the person cannot stay away from alcohol though the individual knows its consequences.
Whether alcoholism is a hereditary problem or not, is an area of concern for most of the people. The answer to this is a dicey one. Extensive researches have been conducted to understand whether there is really a connection between alcohol addiction and genetics. It has been found that children who are born to alcoholics are more prone towards alcoholism than the others. However, it is not necessary these children will definitely become alcohol addicts. Other than genetics, there are also other factors like a person’s nature, family background, and perception towards life, that make him/her addicted to alcohol.
Scientists and researchers who think there is a connection between alcohol and genetics have conducted studies on families, adopted children, and twins. They have found that even if children of alcoholic parents are raised by non-alcoholics, they can turn alcoholics. It was also seen that children born to non-alcoholic parents, but adopted and raised by alcoholics, did not become alcohol addicts. This surely proves that genetics plays a significant role in a person becoming an alcohol addict. However, it was seen that many children of alcoholic parents did not become alcoholic themselves. Also not all alcoholics come from families with a background of alcohol addiction.
Some research studies suggest that the environment in which the child grows determines whether he would become an addict. If one of the parents in the family is an alcoholic, there may be tension and conflict within the family. The parent himself may be facing some emotional and psychological problems that affect the children’s upbringing. This may lead to the development of mental and emotional problems that can make the child an alcoholic. Studies have also found a strong link between alcohol addiction and antisocial behavior. It is said, that people who are rebellious by nature tend to do things that are considered bad by the society. Such people are likely to become alcohol addicts. There are also cases of people who get addicted to alcohol because they are unable to overcome the problems in their lives.
People who are born in families having a history of alcoholism should be aware of certain things that would help them prevent themselves from turning alcoholics. They should avoid consuming alcohol at an early age as it is likely that under-age drinking can make a person alcoholic. If they become social drinkers as adults, care should be taken so that they do not become excessive drinkers.
Looking at the researches done by scientists, it cannot be said that only genetics is responsible for an individual to become an alcohol addict. Even though genes play an important role in alcohol addiction, it depends on a person’s inner ability and strength, which determines whether the individual would turn alcoholic or not.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.