Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition characterized by a strong desire to drink, compulsive alcohol use or problem drinking. People with AUD find difficulties in controlling their use of alcohol despite knowing its harmful consequences. They are preoccupied with alcohol and often seen showing physiological dependence on the substance. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 16.3 million adults aged 18 years or older in the United States had an AUD in 2014.
Excessive intake of alcohol can take a toll on one’s overall health. From breathing problems, unconsciousness, and slurred speech to severe effects on heart, liver, and stomach, drinking to excess has many adverse effects on alcohol users.
While research has established the contribution of various psychological, social, and environmental factors to alcoholism, genetic factors are largely believed to be the major reason behind the condition.
Genes responsible for alcoholism
An individual’s health depends on his genes and their interaction with the surrounding environmental factors. NIAAA highlights that several twin, adoption, and family studies have shown genetics accounting for 50 to 60 percent of the risk for developing AUD. The rest of the chance comes from environmental factors and their interaction with an individual’s genes.
Children of alcohol-addicted parents have higher chances of developing alcoholism. This is because of the transfer of a number of genes and hereditary characteristics from parents to their children.
There are hundreds of genes in an individual’s DNA that increase his risk of developing an AUD. Genes responsible for alcoholism include GABRA2, CHRM2, ADH4, ADH1A, ADH1B,
CHRNA5, GABRG3, OPRK1, PDYN, NFKB1, ANKK1, ACN9, NPY2R, and CRHR1. An extreme exposure to alcohol tends to alter these genes and amplifies an individual’s desire to drink more. It also increases the metabolism rate for alcohol, which in turn makes the individual crave more for alcohol, soon leading to alcoholism.
Apart from genes, others factors responsible for alcoholism include alcoholic parents who are depressed, violence in the family, accessibility, physical or sexual abuse and peer pressure. Environmental factors contributing to the development of alcoholism are stress, work, and relationships. In addition, mental illness of an individual also increases his likelihood of developing an AUD by 20 percent.
Treatment for alcohol addiction
It is not definite that an individual with a family history of alcohol abuse will be an alcoholic. There are many cases where a person with such a history does not even like alcohol. It depends on an individual’s personal choice and preferences to opt for drinking or not.
While genetic factors play a major role in turning a healthy individual into an alcoholic, there are many ways in which an individual can prevent addiction to alcohol, such as maintaining healthy friendship, strong family ties, self-control, managing stress, being aware of the symptoms of addiction and keeping oneself busy. Talking to a medical health expert, practicing meditation and yoga can also help a lot in controlling alcohol addiction.
If you are suffering from an AUD or alcohol addiction and looking for a rehab center that can help you in recovering from your condition, the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline can assist you with details about the alcohol addiction treatment in Florida. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 or chat online with our experts to get complete information on the best alcohol treatment centers in Florida.