Are Some People Genetically Vulnerable to Alcoholism?

Are Some People Genetically Vulnerable to Alcoholism?

Ever wonder why you drink two shots of vodka and can feel wasted and another person can take back five shots and only feel a slight buzz? There is serious research and debate still to this day on the potential genetic link to alcoholism. Some wonder if there are inherited reasons or factors that might make a person more likely to become an alcoholic than another person. In fact, according to studies conducted by the research group Alcoholism and Drug Addiction from the University of Granada, while there are no actual reasons to become an alcoholic, there are plenty of social, genetic, environmental, and family factors that could contribute to how its developed. The study concluded that the lack of endorphins (which can be hereditary) can mean that there are genetic factors that make any particular person become an alcoholic.

What Are Endorphins?
Beta-endorphins are chemicals that are naturally released into the brain. It releases as a response to many different situations including pain. In some ways these chemicals are said to dull or numb pains. When studies looked further into those who possessed lower levels of beta-endorphin levels and chronically abused alcohol, they found impressive discoveries. Jose Rico, a lecturer of medicine at the academy believed that low levels of endorphins can easily aid in determining if a person may become an alcoholic. The way it is described is that if a person with low levels suddenly experiences an artificial rush (from alcohol) of endorphins then they will become more dependent upon alcohol as their natural levels of endorphins fail to produce.

What Does All of This Mean?
In the study conducted by the University of Granada, they gathered information from 200 families in the Southern Spanish province. The results found that from the time of birth, each child had a predetermined level of beta-endorphins present. The study concluded that children who had parents that were abusers and low endorphin levels were ten times as likely to be vulnerable to alcoholism and abuse. According to the studies, while alcohol consumption does not affect everyone the same way, that differences in endorphin levels can obviously make a person more vulnerable to alcohol. When lower levels are present, they have a higher chance of developing a dependency.

The Jury is Still Out
To this day scientist and medical professionals are conducting studies to determine the genetic link to alcoholism. While some argue that there are other factors including environmental, social, and genetic that all determine vulnerability, more and more studies are proving that it could be inherited.

What Can You Do?
Whether you drink once in a blue moon, socially, or frequently, your best bet is to learn your family history. The more you know about your family members drinking problems, the better prepared you will be. Talk with your parents and grandparents to see if you can get a better understanding of how vulnerable you could be. If you find that you have a history of alcoholism or abuse in your family, you may consider minimizing your drinking and monitor it responsibly. Since there is no hardcore proof that itís genetics, you don’t want to take that risk.

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