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Alcoholism is Hereditary

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by Droz, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. Droz

    Droz Member

    Research has shown that alcoholism can be passed down through family genetics. What steps can one take if they have a close family member that has suffered from alcoholism?
  2. Vinaya

    Vinaya Community Champion

    Really? I did not know that. Can you provide supporting links. In my opinion alcoholism cannot be genetic, however, if the father is alcoholic, it is likely that his son will also pick up alcohol.
  3. I don't know; alcoholism can be easily prevented by not introducing it to the person. Also alcoholism is usually a sign that the person is giving to to his inner urges and is not mentally strong enough to fight that urge; this can be true of any sybstance abuse not just alcohol. I feel that it is more subject to the environment you grow up in rather than genetics.
  4. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    I don't believe that alcoholism is hereditary. I'd be an alcoholic if that was true. My grandfather was an alcoholic. My old man was an alcoholic . . . and I might have been one had it not been for the fact that I didn't want to be like them. While yes there's a higher likelihood kids raised by alcoholics will be like them they all can choose to be alcoholics or fight the vice.
  5. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I'm also a bit wary of believing that alcoholism is hereditary without seeing the proof in black and white aswell to be honest.

    I've known people that have have grown up in no alcohol households that have turned to drink, been alcoholics all their lives, had children who then haven't touched a drop, so I'm not sure there is a connection to be honest.
  6. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Alcoholism isn't purely hereditary, but genetics do play a role. From an article on the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism:

    "Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism. Therefore, genes alone do not determine whether someone will become an alcoholic. Environmental factors, as well as gene and environment interactions, account for the remainder of the risk."

    You can read the entire article here:

    Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder

  7. explorerx7

    explorerx7 Senior Contributor

    It's difficult for me to accept that alcohol could be passed through genes. I have known many, many fathers who extreme alcoholics and none of their children ever came to the point of having an alcohol abuse problem. If this revelation should be true, then probably the same could be said of cocaine abusers also.
  8. SashaS

    SashaS Community Champion

    Any good parent will make sure that their children will avoid it. If you see your parents condoning the use of alcohol and you're below the legal age, try your best to avoid it. It's better not to start at all than to stop after trying. Sure, a glass of wine at the restaurant or a beer at a BBQ won't do any harm, but anyone who knows anything will know how much is too much. It's not necessary to drink to be happy, parents who have children and drink alcohol should make sure their kids know that.
  9. ChloeDawn

    ChloeDawn Active Contributor

    I think it can be hereditary, especially if the parents use alcohol during conception or pregnancy. If consuming alcohol is done by many people in your close family circle, it is most likely accepted as something that is normal. If you grow up around it, you are more likely to start drinking eventually.
    However, I never grew up around it at all. I had never in my life been around anyone who drank. But then, at age 36 I stupidly got the idea that I wanted to try it. Fortunately for me, I did not enjoy it enough to continue. I have not had a drink in nearly 5 years and have no desire to ever drink again.
  10. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    This may be true but the freedom of choice trumps that. There are some people who have been exposed to alcoholism and haven't taken that path. Of course there are some people who follow after there parents and take up bad habits. I think it's really all about the individual and what path they choose to take in life.
    Zyni likes this.
  11. Ram Shah

    Ram Shah Member

    Really? I find it hard to believe that alcoholism can be genetic! It is possible that a child picks up such habits because his parents are frequent drinkers but that is an environmental cause not a genetic attribute. Then it would be because you would think of it as something "wrong" and the chances of you getting addicted are higher. Then again, I'm no expert :p
  12. kjmusicus

    kjmusicus Member

    I agree....the abuse of any substance is an avoidance of uncomfortable emotions and an inability to deal with stress and suffering. The use of a substance, or the decision to stop, is a choice. I made a choice to stop drinking when I saw how stunted and unhealthy my life was becoming. I wanted different things, and I knew that I could not achieve them if I was "stuck" in that place. I chose to stop, cold turkey. It wasn't necessarily pleasant for the first couple of days, but I began reaching out to others who I knew would hear my stories and provide the emotional support that I needed to change my habits and patterns. Here I am, six years later, and I don't have the slightest desire to return to that lifestyle. My life is much richer and more rewarding now than it ever has been. Tendency toward addictive behavior may be in someone's history, but it does not have to be in one's future. That is a choice.
  13. remnant

    remnant Community Champion

    It is true according to recent research that alcoholism is hereditary. However, this is not unqualified. My father was into alcohol. I followed pace. Ditto my brother. Though I have quit, it is not easy to maintain a clean slate. I am not incriminating myself. What I want to postulate is that the matter is has a spiritual angle. You find areas where alcohol addiction is rife in sharp contrast to their neighbours. And these people are not related. Both parents could be alcoholics but all their offspring turn out to be teetotallers. Create time to browse this article: Alcohol in the church.
  14. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    A person becoming an alcoholic is down to a number of different factors, and if a child grows up in a alcoholic household, there's more chance of them also abusing alcohol in the future, but that isn't always the case.

    The fact that an alcoholic can now turn to the reason or excuse that it's in their genes, isn't going to help, and hearing that could lead to them giving up trying to quit.
  15. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    Even if genes play a role, you still have a choice in what you put in your body. You can't get drunk if you don't drink alcohol. Trying not to put yourself in a unwanted situation helps. Like if you are invited to go to the bar then you can say no. That will be much easier than going to the bar and calling yourself saying no to beer all night long and hope you don't give in.
  16. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    And that's why I'm not sure I believe the research that days alcoholics can blame their genes, because I think there's a lot more to it than that.

    Just because my parents drank, doesn't necessarily mean that I would. As it happens I did, but that wasn't because of them, that was my decision in my life, nothing to do with anything that had been passed down.
  17. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Not sure if how true is that. I think one can get influenced by family members into addiction but not sure if how much it is in terms of hereditary. There are several alcoholics in the family but I never liked the taste of alcohol.
  18. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I think liking the taste of alcohol is more influential than alcoholism being hereditary to be honest.

    Growing up I did like the taste, even though I wasn't allowed any so maybe that, coupled with the fact I wanted to drink even more because I was told I couldn't, was the catalyst to make me want to drink more.
  19. DangerSuit

    DangerSuit Member

    The evidence produced here reminds me of the pertinent factors in contracting diabetes: yes, there is a higher likelihood of getting diabetes if your parents have it, but that is in some way down to genetics and some way down to the food in your house. If you don't eat the same food they did, you are less likely to have the disease.

    If you can learn from your parents mistakes, you don't necessarily have to succumb in the same way that they did. I am slowly coming to terms with that truth, that my father's story does not have to be my own. Look to people who have broken the cycle in order to learn from them.
    Zyni likes this.
  20. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    I agree with this. At the end of the day, it comes down to choice. Alcoholism in the family may be a risk factor, but there is no evidence to suggest that children of alcoholics will always become alcoholics. In fact, there are many kids who choose the exact opposite, because they don't want to be like those before them. Again, choice. If you never take that first drink, you can't become an alcoholic.
    greybird29 likes this.