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Does Alcoholism Run In Families?

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance. 85.6 percent of people over the age of 18 have reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lives. It is the 4th leading cause of preventable death in the US. In fact, an estimated 88,000 people die every year from alcohol-related causes. Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by the inability to stop or control drinking alcohol despite the negative effects it has on one’s life. It can range from mild to severe in severity and describes 2 separate disorders, alcohol abuse, and alcohol dependence. In the United States, 14.5 million people aged 12 and above had alcohol use disorder in 2019.

Risk Factors For Alcoholism

Alcoholism affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. The risk factors can be genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological. There can be several different causes of alcoholism. Some of the most common causes are drinking from an early age, mental health disorders, stressful situations or environments, peer pressure, mixing alcohol with medication, trauma, frequent consumption over time, self-medicating or drinking to cope, and lack of family supervision.

Is Alcoholism a Family Disease?

Along with addiction, you often hear that alcoholism runs in families. While there is a genetic component, it’s more complex than just genes. When it comes to alcoholism and families, other factors also come into play here. The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health “FAMILY HISTORY OF ALCOHOLISM: ARE YOU AT RISK?” says,

“Many scientific studies, including research conducted among twins and children of alcoholics, have shown that genetic factors influence alcoholism. These findings show that children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems. Children of alcoholics also have a higher risk for many other behavioral and emotional problems. But alcoholism is not determined only by the genes you inherit from your parents. In fact, more than one-half of all children of alcoholics do not become alcoholics. Research shows that many factors influence your risk of developing alcoholism. Some factors raise the risk while others lower it.” (LACountyDMH)

Some of the other factors that can raise the risk include having both parents with alcoholism or a substance use disorder, having a parent with mental health issues and alcoholism, having a parent with severe alcoholism, and having a history of violence and aggression in the family.

Be Aware of the Signs of Alcoholism

If you have a family history of alcoholism, it’s good to be aware of some of the signs of alcoholism:

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These usually include shaking, terrible anxiety, nausea and vomiting, and possible seizure activity.
  • Developing a tolerance and needing more and more alcohol each time.
  • Intense cravings for alcohol.
  • Unable to resist the urge to drink and not being able to stop once you’ve started.

If you have developed any of these signs, especially withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Detoxing from alcohol dependence can be very dangerous, especially if the dependence has become severe. Treatment in a medically supervised detox facility is necessary to prevent hurting yourself.

Start Recovery From Alcohol Dependence at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset

Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based alcoholism treatment to cater to the individual needs of each patient. Our solution-focused treatment provides men, women, and families integrated and comprehensive care geared towards leading you on the road to long-lasting recovery. If you are having issues with alcohol, let us help you. Our specialists and professionals are highly qualified and supportive and will get you back on track in no time.