People become alcoholics for many different reasons. One reason might be genetics. There are many studies that are showing a correlation between family genetics and alcoholism. So can you be predisposed to being alcoholic?
Genes Are Half The Battle
Your parents and your genes do play a factor into your risk of alcoholism. For example, some people of Asian descent suffer from nausea and a decreased ability to metabolize alcohol due to a gene variant. Others are not so lucky to have genes that deter drinking, but rather increase it.
“Over 50% of the likelihood that a person is going to end up with addiction has to do with their genetic history,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, Chief Medical Officer at the Hazelden Foundation.
If your mom or dad is an alcoholic, then your risk skyrockets, making you “at least six times more likely than the general population”, to being an alcoholic yourself, he explains.
Seppala also mentions that individuals who have a higher tolerance for alcohol are at a much higher risk for alcoholism. There are more than 300 genes associated with alcoholism. Any combination of variants could lead to an increased or decreased risk with alcoholism.
Your Environment Matters
On the flip side of the genetics argument is environment. Your family’s drinking habits as well as your friends’ drinking habits also play a role in alcoholism. We know there is a correlation between an individual’s age they start drinking and the likelihood that he/she will become an alcoholic. So if a person is introduced to heavy drinking at an early age by either their family or friends, it increases the risk for alcoholism. Factor in a naturally higher tolerance for alcohol, and you’ll have very high risk case.
Regardless of your genetic disposition or what your childhood was like, no one is born an alcoholic. Yes, some people are at a higher risk than others, but it’s nothing is guaranteed. If you feel that you are at a high risk for alcoholism, take note. Make sure you are more careful with your alcohol consumption. Avoid scenarios that would put you in a situation where you might drink more often.
We don’t want to set off a debate on nature vs. nurture. Our point is that some individuals are naturally at a higher risk for alcoholism. Therefore, individuals should examine their family history and reflect on their environment and behaviors. If you have any questions, Prominence Treatment Center has reps available to discuss your drinking habits and whether or not you need to seek professional help.