Is alcoholism genetic? That is one of the most common questions asked by those who are struggling with alcoholism or interested in the underlying causes of addiction. Researchers agree that alcoholism is a chronic disease of the brain, but they have yet to reach a full consensus regarding the hereditary and genetic elements of alcoholism.
Is Alcoholism Genetic?
If you are wondering if alcoholism is genetic, it is important to understand the distinctions between genetic disorders and hereditary diseases. Scientists have established links between alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, and certain genes. In other words, having a parent or other relative who struggles with alcohol boosts the likelihood that a person will become an alcoholic.
From a scientific outlook, differences exist between genetic and hereditary causes of a particular condition. A genetic disease is one caused by an abnormality in a person’s genome. An inherited disease refers to a genetic mutation passed along from the DNA of an individual’s parents. The debate asking is alcoholism genetic comes from whether the ailment comes from mutations in a set of genes or from the genes themselves.
In a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, researchers discovered that genetics account for approximately 50 percent of the cause of alcoholism across all people. The research found that people who derive pleasure from drinking without experiencing mood swings or nausea may be predisposed to alcoholism. The traits that drive this behavior may be genetic.
Is alcoholism genetic? The question is important because alcoholism is a major issue in the nation. Alcoholism affects nearly 18 million people in the United States and leads to 100,000 deaths annually, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The risks of alcoholism include cirrhosis, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease.
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