Alcohol and Genetics

For years researchers and scientists have been looking into links between alcohol and genetics. Many reports indicate a strong link between alcohol and genetics, which may explain why some are more likely to become an alcohol abuser or why alcoholism runs in families.

In addition to the likelihood that alcohol and genetics are related based on trends and research showing the connection of alcohol abuse in families, there is also a connection to alcohol and genetics that allows some drinkers to feel the effects of alcohol more strongly based on their genetics. According to an article posted in Science Daily, there may be a DNA sequence variation that is significantly associated with the level of response to alcohol. This type of response could be what factors affect alcohol abuse in certain individuals, according to this study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However what is the cause of this link between alcohol and genetics and how do certain DNA have it and others don't?

The link between alcohol and genetics:

In addition to increased alcohol effects and higher chance of alcoholism in families, there is also a link between alcohol and genetics that may increase a person's likelihood to consume more alcohol in a single sitting, otherwise also known as binge drinking. It is behaviors like these that may also lead to genetic traits like alcoholism and problems with alcohol addiction. While there is some form of a strong link between alcohol and genetics, researchers are still uncertain about what that link is and what causes it to occur. However, findings like the study mentioned above indicate that research is well on its way to being able to find the definitive answer as to how these occur in specific genetic strains and how they work. 

There is a level of response to alcohol that is definitely transferred through heredity. In fact, researchers believe there is a 40 to 60 percent chance that there is a link between genetic factors and alcohol dependence. Because of this fact, many doctors and health care professionals warn those who have a genetic predisposition to become addicted to alcohol consumption to stay away from alcohol as much as possible. It is still difficult to tell what the link is between alcohol and genetics when it comes from the difference between high and low alcohol consumption. For some, the genetic inclination to drink more amounts of alcohol compares drastically to the people who are inclined to drink but don't need much to feel the effects of alcohol. 

What to do about  the link between alcohol and genetics:

While some avid drinkers may not like to hear such results, it is best if those with a family history of alcoholism and alcohol abuse stay away from drinking alcohol entirely. This may be a difficult choice to make, yet it could save millions each year from reaching the dangerous stages of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Those with alcoholism can encounter many  life-changing effects both socially and health wise. Drinking too much alcohol can cause a variety of health problems including liver and heart disease. Alcoholism can also affect a person's day-to-day life, jobs, family, relationships and financial well-being. Alcohol abuse,while different in its diagnosis, can have similar effects on the person's life style and family, jobs, income and overall life. 

Because evidence between alcohol and genetics supports a strong connection, it is important for those who could be impacted by such chances to be cautious of the amount the drink and in the manner they drink. Teens who begin drinking at a younger age are much more likely to be of the group of people who fall prey to their family's alcoholic history. If this is the case, it is a good idea to learn responsible drinking habits so that situations like alcoholism and an increase chance of alcohol abuse is not continued from generation to generation. Continued research is still being done on the how and why behind this link between alcohol and genetics in which scientists may be able to figure out ways around becoming more likely to become addicted to drinking and developing alcoholism. 

Source:, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 

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