Is Alcohol Genetic – Am I Doomed?

Faces of concerned mother and daughter asking is alcoholism genetic

Is alcoholism genetic is a question many families ask after seeing one or more family members spiral in addiction. Millions of Americans have close relatives suffering with alcoholism, so it is not a new question. The bottom line is that people want to know if it is safe for them to drink, if a family member cannot. Or they want to protect children to help them grow into healthy adults without bearing the vulnerability of a legacy of alcoholism.

Is alcoholism going to affect your future? That can also be a scary question, if you have alcoholism in the family. If alcoholism will follow you in some way, how can you minimize your risk?

Wondering, “Is alcoholism genetic?” is entirely normal. Most people have a family history of some alcohol abuse, if not full-fledged addiction. While research shows that there is a family connection to alcoholism, there are certain factors that lead to greater risk. These are also the factors to which you should pay more attention.

Drinking at an Early Age

A major risk factor for alcoholism is children drinking before the age of 15. When children have grown up in a household with alcoholism, they may start drinking at an earlier age than their peers. They have seen behaviors of adults who have had alcohol and may be desensitized to drinking because of their environment. Recent studies report that drinking before the age of 15 makes young people six times more likely to become an alcoholic or abuse alcohol during their lifetime.

Following Parents’ Example of Drinking

Children whose parents have had alcoholism are up to four times more likely to become addicted to drinking, than their peers. But being “more likely” does not equal a destiny. When children like these are at greater risk, others around them can help them grow up without abusing alcohol. There is no certainty in alcoholism, so children can be guided down the right path, regardless of family history.

What is Hereditary Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is defined different ways by different people. It usually means someone who is addicted to alcohol, or must consume it to get through each day. Alcoholism is a physical dependence on drinking. It is called a disease by medical doctors of today, so this is why many people have started asking, “Is alcoholism genetic?”

Someone suffering from alcoholism is unable to stop drinking without going through withdrawal. They may want to control their use of alcohol. But withdrawal symptoms usually thwart any chances of becoming sober.

There are four common characteristics among people suffering from alcoholism:

  • They crave alcohol and obsess about it throughout each day.
  • They cannot control the amount they drink and lose control of life because of drinking.
  • Their brain and body are physically dependent upon alcohol, having suffered brain and bodily changes in how they work to accommodate heavy drinking.
  • Tolerance to alcohol has developed and they must drink more and more to gain the same effect.

The University of California in San Diego conducted a study about hereditary alcoholism. The final report from that study showed that people with family history of alcoholism also have low sensitivity or inherited tolerance to alcohol. Even though they can drink more without feeling effects others feel, these people are more vulnerable to developing alcoholism.

When a family member is an alcoholic, you see the negative side of drinking. But many people do not realize that you do not have to be a full-fledged alcoholic to suffer the negative effects of heavy drinking. Binge drinkers can suffer blackouts when drunk without being alcoholics. Some types of cancer and injuries common to alcoholics are also common in those who binge drink.

Is Alcoholism Genetic? Making the Right Choice About Drinking Is Key.

If you worry about hereditary alcoholism, you need to pay particular attention to the “right choices” in drinking. Choices you make are up to you and are not influenced by your genes or family history. Choices are influenced by your environment, friends, family, peers, access to alcohol and social situations.

So is alcoholism genetic? Like alcoholism, diabetes can “run in families.” Also like alcoholism, the trend of diabetes in a family can end if one person in the lineage decides to keep himself or herself out of harm’s way.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, children of alcoholics are as likely to develop behavioral and emotional problems from having alcoholic parents, as they are to become alcoholics themselves. In fact, one half of all children with alcoholic parents do not become alcoholics. Hereditary alcoholism may be more of a myth than reality.

Studies indicate that children of alcoholic parents are more likely to excessively drink if one or more of the following are true:

  • The alcoholic parent has mental illness like depression.
  • Both parents have substance abuse problems.
  • Parents’ alcohol abuse is severe.
  • Aggression and violence result from family conflicts.

The risk of alcoholism is higher for children coming from fractured homes like ones with the above problems. But these kids are not guaranteed to become heavy drinkers by hereditary alcoholism. If they become alcoholics, it is of their own personal choices and not heredity.

Alcoholism Treated on All Fronts

For anyone struggling with a drinking problem, getting help can be difficult. There are many rehab options available, but how can you tell which one is the right fit? When it comes to treating a problem suffered by multiple generations in a family, rehab is particularly critical toward recovery. Healing Springs Ranch offers a family program that helps not only the active alcoholic but teaches family members how to get well themselves.

Alcoholism is not the root of its own problem. Addiction of all kinds can be traced back to traumas or personal pain that has not healed. It is only through the healing of that trauma that recovery can stay strong. When a child has grown up in turbulent surroundings, as within a family of substance abusers, trauma may be why drinking began.

Whole Person Healing for Recovery from Alcoholism

Whole person healing is important for ending the cycle of addiction that you are stuck in right now. Trauma, dual diagnosis, and underlying conditions feed alcoholism and the alcoholism feeds those problems, in return.

At Healing Springs Ranch in Tioga, Texas, skilled trauma therapists are ready to help you or the person you love to gain freedom from alcohol addiction. These trauma specialists work with addiction specialists, other therapists and medical staff to heal the whole person. Through whole person healing, you can pave a brighter future for your own children. You can ensure they will not have to ask, “Is alcoholism genetic?” and will instead have healthy lifestyle examples in front of them.

At the same time as you are working on important things for recovery, you will be able to enjoy Healing Springs Ranch’s setting and activities. You will get to know peers as you participate in group therapy, as well as through interpersonal engagement in activities such as:

  • Golf
  • Bocce ball
  • Sand volleyball
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Working out
  • Participating in yoga

Healing Spring Ranch’s peaceful setting only an hour north of a Dallas alcohol rehab and northeast of DFW airport includes 50 acres of Texas quarter horse ranch land. A beautiful private lake adds to the serenity.

If you or someone you love have grown tired of fighting alcohol addiction, call Healing Springs Ranch now at 866-656-8384. You can find yourself and your own lasting recovery at Healing Springs Ranch. You only have to make this important call and with some work toward recovery, you will not have to wonder “Is alcoholism genetic?” ever again.

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