Is Alcoholism Inherited?


Alcoholism is a horrible and debilitating disease that claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. No one is really sure what causes some people to develop this disease and others not to. However, there is some scientific data to suggest that alcoholism may in fact be hereditary in some cases. No matter what the cause of alcoholism, it is devastating to the person who suffers from the disease, as well as to the loved ones who must watch the downward spiral it causes its victims.

A Little on Alcoholism

It is a safe bet to say that probably everyone reading this article has been around at least one alcoholic in their lives. In fact, perhaps someone they love is suffering from alcoholism as we speak. It isn’t very hard to find an alcoholic as there are approximately 18 million in the United States alone. Of course, it would be impossible to try and figure out how many there are on a global level but you get the general idea. A basic and rather simple definition of alcoholism is to say that it is characterized by the inability to put the drink down, so to speak. This means that no matter what consequences ensue as a result of drinking, (and many will) the person stricken with the disease cannot refrain on his/her own. For the alcoholic, life becomes unmanageable in just about every area, as a direct result of alcohol.

A Genetic Link

Scientific research has been able to theorize that a certain gene seems to be related to the disease of alcoholism. However, there is still a lot of research to be done on the subject. While scientists do believe there to be a genetic link to alcoholism, they do not believe that every person who is genetically predisposed to the disease will actually develop it. With that being said, there is a far greater chance those people will at some point in time become dependent on alcohol, if circumstances provide the right conditions.

Link Between Poor Response to Stress and Alcoholism

The people who seem to be the best candidates to develop alcoholism are the people who exhibit a poor response to stressful situations. While there are a lot of people who currently partake in a “nightcap” to get rid of the stress they have endured throughout the day, if a person must have a drink to settle down then there is a good chance that person is an alcoholic. This means that the person cannot find relief from stress in any other form. Sometimes this disease manifests itself in the form of prescription drug addiction but make no mistake, the disease is the same no matter what the substance being abused may be. This means that some people carrying a genetic predisposition for alcoholism may in fact become drug addicts and never pick up the first drink.

Children of Alcoholics

People who have been born to alcoholics are far more likely to develop some form of addiction, whether it is to alcohol or to any other hazardous substance or activity. For this reason, children of alcoholics must be more diligent in their sense of awareness when it comes to partaking in anything that may be habit forming. One of the best ways to prevent the manifestation of this disease is to refrain from every taking the first sip. This is why children of alcoholics are urged to think twice before taking social drinks with friends. This does not mean that all children who have an alcoholic parent will develop the disease but for some it is a chance not worth taking.

Alcoholism Cannot Be Cured

Unfortunately, a common misconception many people have is that once an alcoholic has stopped drinking, he/she is cured. This has lead many people to failure. They stop drinking for a little while and then think it will be alright to have just one. There is no such thing as having just one drink for an alcoholic. There is a saying in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), “One is too many and a thousand is never enough”. You absolutely cannot be cured from the disease of alcoholism as it is a chronic condition. The good news is it can be arrested and with proper treatment and therapy, an alcoholic can go on to live a happy and sober life as long as he/she refrains from consuming alcohol, in any form.

Seeking Help

One of the hardest things for a person suffering from alcoholism to do is to stop drinking. It is quite rare to find a person, who has been drinking for any length of time, and has developed a dependency, to stop drinking on his/her own. Thankfully, there are detox/treatment centers all over the world designed to help a person stop drinking with a reduced risk of medical problems that result from alcohol withdrawal. The first step in getting help for alcoholism is to admit that there is a problem. Once an admission has been made, help can be sought. Through diligence and treatment for the disease, a person can free themselves of the chains that bind them. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, don’t wait to seek help. There is no better time than now to end this path of destruction and begin the healing process.

Once detox has been completed and the period for “treatment” is over, it will be necessary for the alcoholic to continue treating his/her disease with some sort of daily routine. Many people have found success through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There are AA meetings in nearly every city around the world and millions of people have learned a new and better way of life through this 12 step program. These meetings can be found online just by doing a simple web search for AA. In addition, there are even AA support forums online that a person who wants to become involved in something productive can join, at no cost at all.

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Christopher Jacoby

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Christopher Jacoby