The Alcoholic Gene


Have you ever heard that genes influence the chance of one becoming an alcoholic? It is said that this alcoholic gene can result in generations carrying it with them. This is just partly true as this may be one of the factors that make a person an alcoholic but there are other factors as well. Researchers in the medical field confirm that genes are not the only factor that plays the role of making someone an alcohol but environmental factors like work, stress, relationships, etc. matter too.

There are two types of genes that determine whether a person would turn out to be an alcoholic or not; genes that increase the risk of one becoming an alcoholic and secondly, genes that decrease the risk of a person developing alcoholism. Some people for instance may experience increased heartbeat when they drink, so they might reject it right away and will not drink often.

Environmental Factors And The DNA

The driving force behind alcoholism is an environmental factor: job stress, failure in relationships, etc. Each person might take it differently. One might be more sensitive towards it than another. There is no gene that determines that a person can be an alcoholic. Every gene has a unique role and it’s difficult to go into the detail of every single one of them.

Different genes like a mental disorder such as schizophrenia is passed down and people with mental disorders might be at a higher risk of becoming alcoholics to counter their illness. This is known as epigenetic and science is still researching on this. Similarly, research shows that people with one particular gene may respond differently to a drug given to counter alcoholism and might react the complete opposite on another patient who lacks that gene.

Recovery From Alcoholism

  1. The first step should be to take prescribed medicines that can ease withdrawal symptoms. These include naltrexone, disulfiram and acamprosate.
  2. Rehabilitation – This is the best option if you are looking to just focus on recovering without the stresses of work, college and everyday life. It is an in-patient treatment where you have to reside in the centre for up to 30 days. Therapists at these centres don’t only focus on how to quit drinking but work on people’s psychological behavior that helps them react differently to stress and helps them cope with in a healthy way.
  3. Ask for help in your personal circle; your friends and family can help you stay positive and not drink excessively.
  4. Make a conscious effort to recover rather than falling back into it.

Genes are not to be blamed for alcoholism at all; if your parents drink excessively doesn’t mean that you are bound to become an alcoholic because there are external factors that cause you to commit this act and then fall into it completely. Such pressures include peer pressure, sexual abuse and accessibility of drugs. Alcohol if done in excess and regularly will result in one becoming an alcoholic but if it’s done in moderation, you are not likely to be an alcoholic.