Are Genetics to Blame for Compulsive Drinking Behavior in North Peoria?

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Here is a story that the substance addiction North Peoria gathered: I grew up with a recovered alcoholic father.  He scared us away from consuming alcohol by saying that after his very first drink at age 15, he knew he was an alcoholic.  Only after many years of alcohol abuse did he finally get help and recover at the drug rehab North Peoria.

Then my little sister started abusing alcohol when she was a teen, frequently binge drinking and experiencing blackouts.  I came to her rescue at more than one disgusting party venue.

With such strong family ties to excessive drinking, I have to admit I was a little nervous to even try alcohol.  At my own wedding, my husband and I chose to forgo champagne in favor of sparkling cider.  I was 30 years old when I finally decided to have a glass of wine.  That night we polished off the bottle, and still I felt no effect from the alcohol.

So I called my “expert”of a little sister: turns out in our family it takes something a lot stronger (scotch or tequila, that sort of thing) to create the effects I witnessed in my family growing up.  A genetic predisposition to little effect from alcohol?  It seems such a thing does exist.

Genes and Drinking Patterns

The National Institute for Health office on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that genetics account for approximately 50% of alcoholism.  The rest could be said to be environmental factors.  Genes can cause decreased reaction to alcohol, like I experienced, or increased reaction.  A gene is thought to cause some people to experience flushing, nausea, rapid heartbeat or worsened hangover after drinking.  Theoretically, such people are less likely to drink to excess.

Epigenetics is the study of the role genes plays in our health.  Recent epigenetic studies out of England have identified two specific genes that may effect alcohol consumption.

  • RASGRF-2: The binge-drinking gene? – A study of young men found that those that had a variation of this gene were more likely to become binge drinkers.
  • GABRB-1:The alcohol-craving gene? – An animal study found that mice with a genetic mutation to this gene overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol to water. The GABRB-1-mutated mice would work for alcohol, even over long periods, and consume up to 85% of their liquids as alcohol, even when quinine (a strongly bitter-tasting agent) was added to the alcohol.

Epigenetic research may help us better understand, and possibly more specifically treat alcohol abuse disorders in our community of North Peoria at the drug rehab in North Peoria.

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