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Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain, particularly areas of motivation and reward. However, one of the questions that scientists continue to explore is whether alcoholism is genetic and how much hereditary traits factor into an addiction. In other words, if someone in your family is an alcoholic, how likely are you to become an alcoholic.

Genetics and Hereditary Traits: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to diseases, genetics and heredity are not necessarily the same thing. What is the difference?

Genetics: A person may have an abnormality in their genome. What this means is that they may have a genetic disposition that makes them gravitate toward substance abuse. It’s what is commonly known as an addictive personality. You may have zero interest in taking drugs or drinking alcohol. However, after you try it for the first time, you may suddenly become hooked.

Hereditary Traits: Hereditary traits are specific traits that are passed from your parents’ DNA to your DNA. These traits can characterize different things about you such as the way you look, act, or think. It can also determine whether you are likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

What many people want to know is whether alcoholism is hereditary. Can you ‘get it’ from your parents?

Why Hereditary Traits Are Difficult to Identify

If you are living with other relatives who are alcoholics, and you become an alcoholic, what factors led to your alcoholism? While hereditary traits may be a factor, there are other things that could contribute to your addiction, such as:

  • Environment: Being around alcohol all of the time
  • Trauma: Experiencing abuse or neglect due to alcoholism
  • Social factors: Your friends or coworkers drink regularly
  • Age: You started using alcohol or drugs at a young age
  • Stress: You drink to relax from a long day at work

Traits may be a factor in your alcoholism. However, it is difficult to isolate addiction to being a hereditary problem when there are other factors that may contribute to alcoholism.

Why Heredity Matters in Alcoholism

It is safe to say that heredity can’t explain all the factors that led you to drink. However, understanding your DNA may help you tap into some clues as to why you are addicted to alcohol. After all, the more you know about your condition, the more empowered you become to combat it.

Your therapist can help you understand why it is your dad drank and his dad drank and his drank. Chances are it wasn’t just hereditary. Regardless, it is extremely important to find out what the cause is so that you can break the vicious cycle of addiction in your family.

Is Alcoholism Hereditary? Learn More at Right Step Houston

At Right Step Houston, our goal is to help you learn more about your addiction, so that you can get on the road to recovery. We offer comprehensive treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Is alcoholism hereditary? Find out more by contacting us at 1.844.768.0169.

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