The Role of Genetics in Addiction
- 100 million people in the U.S. have at least 1 alcoholic drink daily.
- 14 to 20 million are alcoholics.
- That means approximately 4 out of 5 people who have at least 1 drink per day are not alcoholics.
Why Is That?
Is it because those 14 to 20 million people who are alcoholics have no will power…or they're just morally inept…or they lack scruples…or they didn't toilet train properly? Of course not!
It doesn't make sense. What does make sense is the role of GENETICS…
Initial theories of a single "alcoholic gene" have essentially been disproven by research. We believe that multiple genes play a role in the transmission of addiction from one generation to another. It is called POLYGENIC INHERITANCE
Think of it as a Chinese menu — let's assume that in order to be an alcoholic you need:
- 2 from column A
- 3 from column B
- 2 from column C
What We Learn From The Research
Alcoholism can skip generations. If parents are not alcoholics, that does not mean that a child cannot be an alcoholic.
- If you have an alcoholic parent, that doesn't mean you will be an alcoholic.
- While studies show a significant increase in the incidence of alcoholism in the children of alcoholics, the father to son transmission is particularly strong.
- In Type 2 alcoholism, which is relegated to men, the son of an alcoholic father is 9 times at greater risk of being an alcoholic compared to the general population.
- Recent studies suggest that heroin addiction is even more mediated by genes than alcoholism.
If one researches families in which there's an addicted person, one will invariably find another addicted person in the family — an aunt, uncle, grandfather — sometimes with a different form of addiction — but it's GENETICS, not willpower, scruples or toilet training, that plays a vital role in determining whether one will have the disease of addiction.
Inpatient treatment — 3 days or 28 days…it's only the beginning of lifelong treatment. There is no cure for the disease of addiction…and many factors combine to tempt and drive the recovering person to relapse.