Study reveals genes associated with heavy drinking and alcoholism: Unique genetic variants may inform future treatments for each alcohol disorder ScienceDaily

Genes related to alcohol metabolism are known to have strong effects on risk; there are functional variants of ADH1B andALDH2 that are protective against alcoholism, with odds ratios in the range of 0.2 to 0.4. Agrawal and her colleagues examined data from 28 previous studies of alcoholism, and said that an even larger study is needed to broaden understanding of the role of genetics in alcoholism. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016, alcohol was tied to 3 million deaths worldwide, and alcohol abuse is linked to 5.1 percent of disease globally. For those aged years, alcohol accounts for 10 percent of deaths. Males are more affected — 7.1 percent, compared to 2.2 percent of women worldwide — by illness and death connected to alcohol abuse.

Goodwin, D. W. The cause of alcoholism and why it runs in families. Alcohol Other Drugs 74, 161–164 . World Health Organization. Global status report on alcohol and health . Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

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These are things that we can remain mindful of as we continue to develop an understanding of alcoholism on a personal basis. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children of alcoholics are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics. Buddy T is an anonymous genetics of alcoholism writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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  • There is not a singular gene solely responsible for alcoholism.
  • Although substantial evidence supports a genetic component of the disorder, identification of potential genetic susceptibility factors for AUD has been challenging.

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CHAPEL HILL, NC – Have you ever wondered why one person can smoke cigarettes for a year and easily quit, while another person will become addicted for life? Why can’t some people help themselves from abusing alcohol and others can take it or leave it? One reason is a person’s genetic proclivity to abuse substances. UNC School of Medicine researchers led by Hyejung Won, PhD, are beginning to understand these underlying genetic differences. The more they learn, the better chance they will be able to create therapies to help the millions of people who struggle with addiction.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5

Factors that increase the risk of this condition include depression or other psychiatric disorders and certain psychological traits, including impulsivity and low self-esteem. Stress, associating with others who abuse alcohol, and having easy access to alcohol also contribute to a person’s risk. Variations in genes that affect the metabolism of alcohol in the body have been studied as factors that can increase or decrease the risk of alcohol use disorder. Gene variations that result in skin flushing, nausea, headaches, and rapid heartbeat when drinking alcohol discourage its consumption and reduce the risk of alcohol use disorder. Populations that have a higher prevalence of such gene variations, such as people of Asian or Jewish descent, tend to have a lower risk of alcohol use disorder than other populations. The topic of genetics and an alcohol use disorder only underlines the complexity of alcohol abuse.

Twin studies have established that there are substantial genetic influences on alcoholism (0.5-0.6) in both men and women. Our knowledge of behaviors predisposing to alcoholism, including anxiety and impulsivity, is advancing rapidly through animal and human studies. Although alcoholism is often comorbid with other substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, recent studies have shown that, with the exception of nicotine, the heritability of alcoholism is largely substance-specific. Increasing understanding of the neurobioligy of addiction has identified neural pathways in which genetic variation at candidate genes could influence vulnerability. Some functional variants of these genes have been identified. Recent linkage analyses in humans and rodents have pointed to genomic regions harboring genes that influence alcoholism.

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