Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, which is a chronic brain disease. Is alcohol addiction hereditary? Researchers have long debated whether there are genetic and/or hereditary reasons behind addiction. Certain genes are, indeed, associated with alcohol abuse. If you have a close relative who has struggled with alcohol abuse, then your risk for having the same issue increases. In general, experts believe that genetics or hereditary factors account for about 40 to 60 percent of the reason for alcoholism. The rest is due to a person’s environment and other issues.
What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
Alcoholism is due to a combination of environmental, social, psychological and genetic or hereditary factors. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to struggle with alcohol abuse. Stressful environments can be a strong factor. Having a stressful job can cause people to turn to alcohol to relax. If you started drinking from an early age, then it’s more likely that you’ll develop dependence as an adult. Mental health problems such as anxiety or depression can also make people turn to alcohol to self-medicate. Unfortunately, alcohol may initially relieve the symptoms, but in time, alcohol will make them worse. A family history of alcohol abuse also raises your risk of doing the same thing.
Is Alcohol Addiction Hereditary?
Is alcoholism really hereditary? Some statistics put the risk at two to four times more likely in those with a family history of alcoholism. However, according to various studies, less than half the people with this risk actually become alcoholics. The reason seems to be that both environment and genes play a big part. It also depends on the relationship of the family member with alcoholism. For example, if you have a parent with an alcohol use disorder, you’re four times more likely to become an alcoholic. However, if the alcoholic is your aunt, uncle or grandparent, then the risk is less. Ultimately, social and environmental factors affect how people express their genes. For example, if you have a family risk of alcoholism, your risk will increase if you also have underlying mental health problems or a stressful environment among others.
What Role Does Genetics Play?
Genetics are somewhat different from hereditary factors. Experts believe they are as much as half the reason for a person’s development of alcoholism. Genes can cause you to metabolize alcohol in a way where the pleasant effects are stronger than the unpleasant effects. For example, instead of feeling nauseous, too hot or experiencing mood swings, you feel happy and relaxed. If you have this genetic disposition, you may feel fewer warning signs from your brain or body that you need to stop drinking. People with abnormal levels of serotonin are also more likely to become addicted to alcohol. A part of the brain that connects emotions to cravings might be a factor, too. If that part in your brain is smaller than average, you may have an increased risk of alcohol abuse.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
If you struggle with abusing alcohol, it doesn’t matter whether the reason is genes, your job or something else. Regardless of the reason for alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction treatment can help you overcome this disorder and lead a sober lifestyle. Sunflower Wellness Retreat in Kansas offers a relaxing retreat-like environment with a range of therapy options and medication-assisted treatment if necessary. We offer the following services to help you get free of addiction:
- Mindfulness-based relapse prevention
- Mental health treatment
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Trauma therapy program
- Holistic treatment program
Even if you believe that your alcohol addiction is hereditary, that doesn’t mean you cannot overcome the addiction. Get in touch with Sunflower Wellness today by calling 855.730.8825 and find out how our range of services and treatments can help you overcome your addiction and get on a sober path.