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Is drinking hereditary?

Old 05-07-2015, 07:35 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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My mother was an alcoholic, as was her father. She started out as a weekend drinker, but it eventually ended up being every night. Night by night, I never knew if she would be a happy drunk, or if something would set her off and she would be an angry drunk.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:37 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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I think there's a genetic component. My parents weren't drinkers, no aunts or uncles had problems that I know of, though my dad's dad was an alcoholic. I have 2 brothers...we all grew up in the 80s, drinking, as teenagers do..binge drinking at parties, concerts, etc. Fast forward 30 years..one of my brothers doesn't drink, maybe socially, but rarely. My other brother and I got whatever that is that makes you want more after you have a couple. So 2 out of 3 of us don't drink normally. We were all raised the same way, in the same era with similar experiences in childhood. It just feels to me like something innate. Something triggers me after I have a few drinks that makes me want more and more. One brother has that too and the other doesn't.

Regarding kids, I have talked to my teenage boys about how they need to be careful cuz that defective off switch runs in our family. I thought they needed to be aware and they know that's why I don't drink. They are not aware I drank heavily, I'll have that conversation when they get older if need be.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:55 AM
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I grew up with an alcoholic mother and a heavy drinking father (stepfather).

I can trace alcoholism in my family almost back to the Mayflower.

We don't have children, so I have ended the gene pool with me.

I tell people I have Dempster Dumpster DNA.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by GracieLou View Post
Neither of my parents are alcoholic. They were social drinkers, parties, holidays and such. They never drank just to drink.

I didn't drink because I was around it and in fact I was turned away from it early as my brother was an alcoholic and I had a fear of being like him but doing things because of fear only last for so long. My fear turned to resentment.

It does run in my family though. Grandparents, Aunts, cousins etc.

They say it can be hereditary and there can be a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

In all honesty I don't really care about all that. Today I don't look for why I have the problem. I use my energy in solving the problem. I like to use my time to learn how to live sober and on lifes terms rather then trying to understand or explain how or why I am an alcoholic.
May I use "I like to use my time to learn how to live sober and on life's terms". I think this is awesome!!!!!
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:41 PM
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What ArtFriend said.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:18 PM
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Mother and father both died of alcoholism. Grand mother quit. Grandfather not sure but a heavy drinker. Brother alcoholic. If alcoholism is genetic it $ucks to be me but what difference does it make?

Hereditary did not rob me of my choice to do the things I need to do for recovery
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:51 PM
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I guess I'm an outlier. I think the answer is no - categorically not. My father drank sporadically and responsibly. My mother drinks sporadically and responsibly. There is no alcoholism that I know of in my immediate family lineage (parents, grandparents, cousins, etc.). My older brother hardly drinks. I have quit for 3.5 years, and my kid brother drinks like an alcoholic fish (he just has to come to terms with it), and gets high as a kite all day. For both he and I, we couldn't hold our liquor to save our lives. But just like riding a bike, we kept trying, and bit by bit, we got up on two alcoholic wheels and the rest is history. And like a bike, you never forget how, hence I won't touch the stuff.

True story: I would throw up after two beers up until about 30 years of age. Then something changed.....10 beers were no longer problem.
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:16 PM
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I would bet money that there is something different about my brain than my non-alcoholic friends. They simply don't feel the need to drink to get drunk or to drink every day. They never did and don't

I never didn't have the desperate need to drink as much alcohol as I could get down my throat in one evening.

There has to be something different there.

My brother and father are alcoholics, for whatever that's worth.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:04 PM
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I think an addictive personality is genetic, but not necessarily being an alcoholic.
I know an addictive personality runs in my family.

My maternal great grandparents and great uncle all died from drinking related diseases. Maternal grandparents drank heavily but quit completely when they had kids. My mom likes her pills and my dad drank for a while but quit many years ago... he seems to able to have a beer or two now and then so I don't think he's a full blown alcoholic..

That being said I still think it's just addiction that's genetic, not necessarily what you end up addicted to
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:19 PM
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I've been in AA for a while and I would agree with the article. A lot of people I know in the program have had some kind of traumatic childhood. Not all the people but a lot.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nomis View Post
There could be genetic predisposition to to alcoholism and addiction in general, but the conditions someone is exposed to while growing up, I think are far more important. A wheat plant has genetic predisitions to grow wheat, but if it is just put on a table, with no water, dirt or soil, it's not going to do very much at all. Study after study has shown a massive link between addiction and childhood trauma. A land-breaking report, called the ACE study was undertaken in the early 2000's I believe. Anybody who has been affected by addiction should be familiar with it. The results have revolutionized the way experts look at addiction. What it found was, that from of a group of 17,000 mature adults, the likelihood of someone developing addiction later in life was directly correlated to, what was termed, adverse childhood experiences, or childhood trauma. The more intense the trauma, the greater the risk factor. So for example, someone who had expeirenced multiple traumatic events in their childhood (substance abuse in their family, loss of a parent, break-up of the family, physical or sexual abuse, etc) was 4,600 times more likely in that study, to develop an intravenous drug addiction later in life compared to somebody who had experienced none of the ACE's listed. What was so conclusive about the study was that if found a marked correlated effect between the intensity of trauma and the increased likelihood of developing a wide range of negative health risks later in life, including substance abuse and addiction. Since that original ACE report, study after study has found the same results. You take any group of alcoholics and drug addicts and you will find that those who have experienced childhood trauma are massively over-represented in that group, by the tune of 40-80%. I guess, I'm also speaking from experience here. I remember going to my first counselling session, and one of the first questions my therapist asked me was, tell me about your childhood. I hemmed and talked about how it wasn't so bad, compared to other families I work with and how my mom worked hard. She said that wasn't the question she asked, tell her about my childhood. I remember at that point becoming flooded with emotions and for the first time started to process some of my traumatic experiences. So...in short, no I don't believe addiction is genetic, I think the conditions in which was born have a far greater effect on whether or not it is something we'll suffer from later in life.
I completely agree with this! I was abused. My brother (same mom and dad) wasn't. I'm an alcoholic. He's a normal drinker. I self-medicated years of trauma. He celebrates a life with no trauma. I'm 5 years older than him. Not sure why I got all the abuse but I'm glad he didn't get any of it.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:44 PM
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There are too many alcoholics in my family tree to believe it's not genetic. Both my parents, sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles..along with suicides, prison and dying young due to drinking. My mom got sober when I was 12 (31 years ago). I grew up being told that if I drank I would more than likely be alcoholic due to our family history. I wasn't sure if I believed her or not..but I do know how I felt the first time I got drunk and the obsession that took over almost instantly. I didn't get slowly addicted...I felt like I already was from the first sip.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:44 PM
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Oh...and I also recently read that the main cause of addiction is fear and shame. The main cause of fear and shame is trauma/abuse.

Heal the fear and shame...heal the addiction.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:56 PM
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I'd say it's a mix of genes, environment, and simply repeated ingestion of an addictive drug. Some people seem f*cked from day one, others drink for decades before showing a problem. Growing up, my adoptive parents and family drank rarely and never to drunkenness. I was never abused or experienced childhood trauma. But basically as soon as I started drinking in High School I would get wasted on most drinking occasions and feel drawn to drinking every weekend. No idea what my biological parents were like, but considering they gave me up for adoption I wouldn't be surprised if they were a mess.
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:20 PM
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I think it's more environmental than anything. My grandpa (mom's dad) was an alcoholic, and took him two strokes to decide to quit.

My mom's always been an alcoholic, and still is. She tried to quit once when we moved to Texas, but it only lasted about a month. Back in the day, she was in charge of the beer cart / cooler for the local softball team, was manager of the golf course club house (ie. drinking place), and was even manager of a liquor store for a while. The last one she thought was great, because she got beer at bulk rate.

Have two older brothers, 7 and 3.5 years older. I grew up in a small oil patch town, and drinking is simply what you did, and what everyone did. My oldest brother was a bit of a devil in his teenage years (ie. drug dealer, thief, etc.). Dad was never really around, because he was always out of town at camp working to support the family.

So when my oldest brother was 16/17, I was 9/10, and that's when he began throwing huge parties at the house all the time. And not exactly the healthy kind of parties. The kind where you watch your mom get punched in the face by some guy stoned out of his mind on cocaine, or watch people get carried inside unconscious with blood all over because they were in a fight over $5 in beer money, or where the cops show up every weekend, etc.

This was my life for years starting at age 8/9. My oldest brother was the worst, but once he was out of the house, my other older brother started up with the parties at our house. They were more tame than previously though, so not as bad. My mom actually encouraged the parties, because then she had people to drink with, and again, my dad was out of town working.

By the time both of my brothers were out of the house and off to college, I finally began normalizing. I was actually getting in with a great crowd of friends (the "coolest group in town", kinda thing), and things were going really well for me. Then a few months later I got moved to Texas.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Fluffer View Post
I'd say it's a mix of genes, environment, and simply repeated ingestion of an addictive drug. Some people seem f*cked from day one, others drink for decades before showing a problem. Growing up, my adoptive parents and family drank rarely and never to drunkenness. I was never abused or experienced childhood trauma. But basically as soon as I started drinking in High School I would get wasted on most drinking occasions and feel drawn to drinking every weekend. No idea what my biological parents were like, but considering they gave me up for adoption I wouldn't be surprised if they were a mess.
I agree with this and would like to add that the various components of the 'mix" may vary depending on the individual. Thus the etiology of alcoholism is complex. The "disease" characterization is a misnomer if it implies that the patient has developed or can recover from alcoholism without active choice, remaining entirely passive. Choice and motivation are important components in developing and recovering from this illness. But genetics do play a part, heredity may increase the risk. However, even though a person has an ancestry of severe alcoholism, he or she will never suffer from that if they never drink. No one becomes an alcoholic without drinking.

W.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:19 AM
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Gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found
Date:
November 26, 2013
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking. They have also identified the mechanism underlying this phenomenon. The study showed that normal mice show no interest in alcohol and drink little or no alcohol when offered a free choice between a bottle of water and a bottle of diluted alcohol. However, mice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol -- about the strength of wine.
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Researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking.
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Researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking. They have also identified the mechanism underlying this phenomenon.

The study showed that normal mice show no interest in alcohol and drink little or no alcohol when offered a free choice between a bottle of water and a bottle of diluted alcohol.

However, mice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol -- about the strength of wine.

The consortium of researchers from five UK universities -- Newcastle University, Imperial College London, Sussex University, University College London and University of Dundee -- and the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit at Harwell, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust and ERAB, publish their findings today in Nature Communications.

Dr Quentin Anstee, Consultant Hepatologist at Newcastle University, joint lead author said: "It's amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.

"We are continuing our work to establish whether the gene has a similar influence in humans, though we know that in people alcoholism is much more complicated as environmental factors come into play. But there is the real potential for this to guide development of better treatments for alcoholism in the future."

Identifying the gene for alcohol preference

Working at the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, a team led by Professor Howard Thomas from Imperial College London introduced subtle mutations into the genetic code at random throughout the genome and tested mice for alcohol preference. This led the researchers to identify the gene Gabrb1 which changes alcohol preference so strongly that mice carrying either of two single base-pair point mutations in this gene preferred drinking alcohol (10% ethanol v/v -- about the strength of wine), over water.

The group showed that mice carrying this mutation were willing to work to obtain the alcohol-containing drink by pushing a lever and, unlike normal mice, continued to do so even over long periods. They would voluntarily consume sufficient alcohol in an hour to become intoxicated and even have difficulty in coordinating their movements.

The cause of the excessive drinking was tracked down to single base-pair point mutations in the gene Gabrb1, which codes for the beta 1 subunit, an important component of the GABAA receptor in the brain. This receptor responds to the brain's most important inhibitory chemical messenger (GABA) to regulate brain activity. The researchers found that the gene mutation caused the receptor to activate spontaneously even when the usual GABA trigger was not present.

These changes were particularly strong in the region of the brain that controls pleasurable emotions and reward, the nucleus accumbens, as Dr Anstee explains: "The mutation of the beta1 containing receptor is altering its structure and creating spontaneous electrical activity in the brain in this pleasure zone, the nucleus accumbens. As the electrical signal from these receptors increases, so does the desire to drink to such an extent that mice will actually work to get the alcohol, for much longer than we would have expected."

Professor Howard Thomas said: "We know from previous human studies that the GABA system is involved in controlling alcohol intake. Our studies in mice show that a particular subunit of GABAA receptor has a significant effect and most importantly the existence of these mice has allowed our collaborative group to investigate the mechanism involved. This is important when we come to try to modify this process first in mice and then in man."

Huge burden of alcohol addiction

Initially funded by the MRC, the 10-year project aimed to find genes affecting alcohol consumption. Professor Hugh Perry, Chair of the MRC's Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, said: "Alcohol addiction places a huge burden on the individual, their family and wider society. There's still a great deal we don't understand about how and why consumption progresses into addiction, but the results of this long-running project suggest that, in some individuals, there may be a genetic component. If further research confirms that a similar mechanism is present in humans, it could help us to identify those most at risk of developing an addiction and ensure they receive the most effective treatment."

The project was led by Professor Howard Thomas from Imperial College London and initiated at the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit. The consortium now involves researchers at five UK universities -- Imperial College London, Newcastle University, Sussex University, University College London and the University of Dundee. Senior investigators are Dr Quentin Anstee at Newcastle University and Dr Susanne Knapp at Imperial College London (joint lead authors); Professor Dai Stephens at Sussex University; Professor Trevor Smart at University College London; Professor Jeremy Lambert and Dr Delia Belelli at the University of Dundee; and Professor Steve Brown at the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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