Alcoholism has long been considered a serious problem. Doctors equate alcohol dependence to a disease and use traditional medication methods to eliminate addiction. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict exactly whether a particular person will be exposed to such a problem. There is a version suggesting that there is a certain gene of alcoholism that provides a predisposition to addiction. However, there are many other factors that influence people’s lifestyle and habits.
Interesting facts about alcoholism and heredity
Alcoholism is traditionally understood to mean addiction to any alcohol-containing liquids. Specialists do not always talk about addiction. To make an accurate diagnosis, it is required to examine the patient, while assessing his physical condition is not enough. An important role is played by working with a psychotherapist. As a rule, it is this doctor who determines whether a particular patient has a harmful addiction to alcohol. Doctors call the three stages of alcoholism, each of which differs from the others not only in the severity of visual symptoms, but also in the methods of treatment used. The sooner a problem is discovered, the easier it is to fix it.
- First stage. The disease at this time is often hidden. A person wants to drink because of any problems or difficulties. In fact, this is a kind of mental dependence, gradually gaining momentum. Already in the description of this stage of dependence, experts mention heredity. It is important to understand that not all people will try to solve life’s difficulties with alcohol. This confirms the theory that there are factors that influence predisposition to drunkenness.
- Second stage. It is even more attached to ethanol-based drinks. A person drinks them not only in order to relax or relieve stress. He already physically cannot without alcohol. His body constantly requires alcohol, and in his absence, withdrawal symptoms develop – a condition resembling a severe hangover.
- Third stage. In the absence of qualified assistance in the early stages, alcoholism goes into the final stage, when physical dependence is combined with psychological dependence. The main difficulty is a person’s lack of desire to fight his problem.
The division at the stage suggests that alcoholism itself does not occur suddenly. The impetus for its development is given by certain factors – both external and internal. There are many theories that reveal the essence of the development of the problem. Some of them prove that heredity plays a huge role. This is often confirmed in practice. As a rule, children born from alcoholics themselves in the future suffer from alcoholism.
Opponents of this theory cite other facts as evidence that the problem cannot be exclusively hereditary. Usually they operate with research data confirming that children of alcoholics, getting into a normal environment, do not reach for alcohol in the future, and if they drink, it is exclusively in reasonable quantities. In fact, both theories carry true information. Alcoholism is a problem that arises due to the influence of many factors at the same time. Parent genes are not the only factors responsible for the development of the disease.
The role of the genome in the development of alcoholism
Disputes about whether an addiction to alcohol is inherited can be infinite. It is pointless to completely deny the role of parental genes. Scientists have long proved that children partially inherit from mother and father almost all of their traits. This applies not only to appearance, physique and even character, but also to the characteristics of the course of internal processes in the body.
Speaking about the so-called gene for drunkenness, many experts recall the statistics according to which, alcoholic children often drink in the future and lead a lifestyle similar to their parents.
However, there is no direct evidence of the role of heredity. At the same time, the value of the chromosome set cannot be understated. Experts confirm that there is a certain combination of genes that is responsible for predisposition to alcoholism. As a rule, it is she who is present in DNA in children of alcoholics. Such a part of the chromosome can be transmitted even through a generation, but the probability of its appearance will be lower, since in this case third-party genes are mixed. The presence in the chromosome set of predisposition to alcoholism does not mean that the child is doomed to become a drunkard. In fact, such a fragment is only responsible for addiction. Gene activity appears only under certain circumstances. Most often this happens when a baby is brought up in an unfavorable environment from childhood and constantly sees parents drinking. The main problem lies in the fact that children of alcoholics have practically no chance of a normal life without alcohol if they do not leave their home.
Scientists explain how the DNA fragment responsible for the propensity for alcoholism works. People who have it disrupt internal metabolic processes. If normally all ethyl alcohol is transformed into acetaldehyde, which then turns into acetic acid, in about a day, then the situation is changing. The accumulation of toxic acetal goes smoothly, but its transition to a safe compound is slowed down. This is due to the absence or small amount of a special enzyme – acetaldehydrogenase, which is produced in the tissues of the liver. As a result, after drinking any alcohol, even in small quantities, a person has a severe hangover, which is almost impossible to get rid of using traditional methods. He will be bothered by signs such as:
- abdominal pain;
- tremor of limbs;
If normally all of these symptoms disappear on their own in a day, then in a person with an enzyme deficiency, well-being improves only when an extra dose of alcohol is consumed. This leads to the development of a strong addiction. It is believed that a group of genes that provokes a tendency to alcohol dependence is most often found in Russian people. This is the basis of the opinion that Russia is one of the most drinking countries in the world.