Is Alcohol Addiction Genetic?

Is alcohol addiction genetic?

Alcoholism impacts the lives of millions of people and their loved ones. It can leave them asking “Is alcohol addiction genetic?” and wondering what can be done about it. Genetics definitely can contribute to a person developing a substance use disorder such as alcoholism. However, many other factors can be in play. Regardless of the root cause, the staff at Tampa Bay Recovery provides focused multi-disciplinary care that helps people stop drinking for good. Our vast array of outpatient programs helps change lives and restores a person’s physical and mental health. 

Is Alcohol Addiction Genetic?

Is alcohol addiction genetic? It absolutely can be. While not every case of alcohol addiction can be blamed on genetics, if someone has a family member with the disease, it increases their chances of developing it. In this country, 43% of adults have been exposed to alcohol addiction. When this happens in their home lives, it may seem like a coincidence, but genetics may be part of why the cycle continues. 

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that a person’s genes provide about half the risk of them developing an alcohol use disorder. There isn’t just one specific gene that has been identified as a risk factor. Instead, several genes can factor into whether or not a person has a risk of abusing alcohol. A person can be born with genes that make them more likely to have a drinking problem, but they do not develop one. For others, the gene lies dormant until environmental factors or a mental health disorder triggers them to turn to alcohol and end up with an addiction.

Alcoholism impacts not just adults who drink but also their kids. There are 18 million children of alcoholics in the U.S. Sadly, many of them grow up to continue the cycle of alcohol abuse, passing this disease on from one generation to the next. It’s not uncommon to find families with multiple family members who developed the disease of alcoholism. 

What Else Can Contribute to Alcoholism?

Whether or not genetics contribute to a person developing an addiction to alcohol, other reasons can also be found. It can prove quite beneficial for treatment providers to investigate contributing causes such as biological, social, and cognitive factors. These factors include the following:

  • A Person’s Environment: A person who lives in an unhealthy situation may find themselves turning to alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate. Poor environments can include living in an abusive household or being involved in an abusive relationship. Someone who has easy access to alcohol also may become more prone to abusing it. As well, individuals who experience high levels of unemployment, live below the poverty level, or live in high-crime areas have an elevated risk of abusing substances. 
  • Early Life Trauma: Children who are abused, molested, or neglected often turn into adults who abuse alcohol. They may not understand how to develop healthy coping mechanisms and incorporate alcohol abuse that was modeled to them by parents and others close to them. 
  • Mental Illness: Approximately half of the people who have a substance use disorder also deal with at least one mental health disorder. Someone with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses often becomes desperate for relief from the symptoms that come with those diseases. They turn to alcohol to help numb their emotions. 

What Is Treatment For Alcohol Addiction Like?

When someone goes for treatment, intake clinicians often consider whether or not for each person the answer to “Is alcohol addiction genetic?” is yes. The therapists explore all contributing causes to the person becoming an alcoholic and design a program to meet their specific situation and needs. Programs for alcohol addiction begin with going to detox. Detox allows the person to receive supervised treatment while going through the process of releasing toxins their bodies accumulated as a result of alcohol abuse.

Some people move from detox to a residential center where they live for several weeks or months. As an alternative to that, or as a next step after receiving residential treatment, many people benefit from outpatient care. Outpatient treatment ranges from requiring attendance just a couple of days a week to going to sessions five to seven days per week. Options for outpatient programs include:

When a person makes plans to attend alcohol rehab, they will be evaluated to determine which level of care they should start with and what to expect from it. Each type of care provides options for a multitude of evidence-based therapies that help people take charge of their lives and stop drinking.

Get Help For Alcohol Addiction in Tampa, FL

When someone loses themselves in the world of alcohol addiction, it can feel impossible to find their way out of it. Tampa Bay Recovery provides a highly effective treatment program that takes a person from detox through the stages of outpatient care that best suit their needs. Our staff provides multiple kinds of addiction therapies that help people understand what alcoholism is all about and how to move out from under it. 
If you are ready to get the help you need to stop drinking, visit our admissions page now. We can get you started on the road to recovery.