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Alcohol Use Disorder In Families: It’s Genetics, Not Destiny

Sometimes, when you suffer from an alcohol use disorder, it’s not just one big thing that weighs you down.  It’s all of the little things that add up and make everyday life challenging. 

It’s the lingering sadness, impulsive behavior, and sense of hopelessness that continue to build that make it difficult to function. Alcohol use disorder is a health issue that’s widely stigmatized and misunderstood. Some turn to alcohol because they have lost meaning in their lives while others never had meaningful lives to begin with. Addiction can take hold and fill the emptiness in a destructive way.  

Unfortunately, there are a lot of opinions and viewpoints when it comes to addiction. One of the most common myths surrounding alcohol use disorder is the belief that certain people are simply predestined to suffer from problem drinking because of their genes. This is not true.

Science tells us that addiction is very complex, and there’s still much to learn…

We know that there isn’t one particular gene or a combination of genes that determine whether you’ll develop alcoholism…

We understand people aren’t born with addictions; therefore, it’s not your destiny!

Risk vs. Destiny

In order to better understand the connection between alcohol use disorder and genetics, you have to understand the difference between being at risk vs. destined to suffer from problem drinking. Our genes are made of DNA which is the molecule that holds the blueprint for how we grow and develop. Healthcare providers use the term genetic predisposition, which means someone has an increased likelihood of developing a particular health issue based on their genetic makeup.

For example, you might inherit an increased risk of cancer from your parents, but this doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably develop cancer. However, knowing you have the risk allows you to make healthy lifestyle decisions to reduce your chance of developing cancer. Genetics and alcohol use disorder work in much the same way. 

If your family members suffered from alcohol use disorder, it’s realistic to consider your heightened risk of developing the disorder, too. Understanding your risks can help you make early preventative efforts for your health and wellness. Some people reduce their risks by changing their drinking behaviors or abstaining from alcohol consumption altogether.

Social & Environmental Factors Play A Role

Additionally, while genetic factors can weigh into the risk, social and environmental factors also play a substantial role in determining how high of a risk someone has in developing an alcohol use disorder. External factors such family, education, age, environment, social culture, job status, and education can all play a role in the development of an alcohol addiction disorder. 

Recent discoveries in genetics are bringing to light certain genetic markers that are more often found in people who suffer from addiction, but most people with those markers do not suffer from addictions either. In other words, there’s not one particular gene or marker that determines someone will suffer from alcohol use disorder. 

Reach Out For Support

While research has been done for decades, we haven’t invested nearly enough in our understanding of addiction. The average person has no idea what really causes certain children to grow up to develop an addiction while others do not.

Genetics determine risk, not destiny. Your future is in your hands! 

Our compassionate team is here to help you every step of the way along your recovery journey. We understand the destructive nature of drug & alcohol addiction. In our rehab program, we use a non-12-step methodology of empowerment. We work with you to create an individualized program that meets your needs. We partner with you in your recovery as soon as you register and provide ongoing support after you return home. 

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