Have you looked at your family history and noticed that several relatives had or have drinking problems? Has that made you wonder, “Is alcoholism hereditary?” Researchers have found a complicated answer. However, many other factors determine who develops an alcohol use disorder.
Is Alcoholism Hereditary?
The short answer to, “Is alcoholism hereditary?” is yes. Studies show that genetics account for about half of your risk for alcohol abuse and addiction.
The long answer is that your genetic structure makes you who you are. The DNA that your parents pass on to you dictates your physical and behavioral traits. If they have alcohol use disorders, then you have a risk of developing a drinking problem too. This risk is higher than for someone whose parents don’t have alcohol problems.
Which Genes Cause Alcohol Addiction?
Unfortunately, hundreds of genes can increase your risk for alcohol use disorder. Experts have trouble identifying the genes because each one has a small role. However, they’ve found that certain gene combinations have a strong connection with drinking problems.
Also, behavioral genes influence your tendency for destructive behavior. Mental illness is also common in people with alcohol use disorder because they use alcohol to cope. If your family has a history of mental health issues, then those genes further increase your risk for alcoholism.
The Other Half of the Picture
Although the answer to, “Is alcoholism hereditary?” is yes, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop a problem. Genes only account for half of the equation. There’s still a nonhereditary factor that drives you to drink.
Environmental factors such as relationships, stress, and work can drive you to abuse alcohol. Your behavioral genes interact with your environment to form how you make decisions. You might be sensitive to stress, which makes it difficult for you to cope with a fast-paced job. You could experience a traumatic event and use alcohol to cover up painful feelings.
Peer pressure and drug accessibility are other environmental factors that can influence your decisions. Social and cultural forces, poverty, and a history of physical or sexual abuse also affect you.
Preventing Alcohol Use Disorder
If you know that you’re at risk for developing an alcohol problem, you can take some steps to prevent it. Talking to a counselor is one method. You don’t have to wait until you have an alcohol addiction to ask for help. A counselor can teach you coping skills and other techniques to help you avoid excessive drinking.
Support groups are also an option. Many of them have open meetings for family members of people with substance use disorders. Sharing your experiences and listening to theirs could help you avoid alcohol abuse.
Get Alcohol Detox to Stop Drinking
If you have an alcohol use disorder, an alcohol detox Houston center can help. Serenity House Detox Houston provides several services to help you overcome the problem, including:
Don’t let your genetic tendency to abuse alcohol dictate what you do. Control your life with our help. Contact Serenity House Detox today at 866.516.8356.