Genes partially to be blamed for dependence on alcohol and drug

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Genes partially to be blamed for dependence on alcohol and drug

Genes partially to be blamed for dependence on alcohol and drug

Dependency on alcohol and drugs often co-occur, and both the disorders are, at least in part, influenced by genetic factors, according to article “The Genetics of Alcohol and Other Drug Dependence,” published in National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) by Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D.

Is addiction really inherited?

A person’s decision to take on drugs or alcohol is personal, but there is a high probability that the decision is influenced by peer, family, circumstances and friends. Once a person starts consuming alcohol and drugs regularly, the risk of getting addicted becomes high. However, genes are not to be blamed entirely as some addictions begin out of curiosity and mistakes, say experts.

According to a study conducted in 1998 by Dr. Kethelin Ries Merikangas, Senior Investigator and Chief of Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), if a parent has an addiction to such substances, the child has an eight times higher chance of developing the same.

As part of the study, she compared 231 people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction to a group of 61 people who didn’t have any kind of addiction.Genetic factors cannot be completely blamed for such addictions. In case of smoking, it is difficult to find whether a family member is influencing the habit. Besides, certain studies also show that there is no correlation between developing an addiction and genes. However, the chance appears to be high in case of an individual if one of his family members is struggling with the same problem.

Recovering from addiction

During the process of recovery, one may seek help from friends, colleagues, parents, and certified health professionals. It is not difficult to embark on the recovery path, but the problem arises when the person faces withdrawal symptoms. A person might experience symptoms like:

  • Sweating
  • Nauseating
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Drowsiness

If the symptoms are mild or moderate, it can be treated easily. What makes the sobriety process tough is the craving for drugs and alcohol.


Various studies reveal that an addiction may cause partly due to genetic predisposition and partly due to coping skills. While dealing with genetic factors may sound odd, one can always improve on the coping skills.

A person may need to go for detoxification or a complete rehabilitation program to get rid of his addiction, depending on his condition. Self-help is another way through which one can achieve sobriety, but it demands willpower and determination. Benzodiazepines can treat withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks and poor sleep.

Regular counseling can also help in recovery. But in case of severe addiction, medicines and specialized support might become necessary. If you know someone who wishes to make his or her life sober, Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline can provide the best treatment program. Call us at 866-576-4147 today to start the journey to recovery.


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