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Alcoholism Statistics: Is Genetics The Biggest Influencing Factor?

 

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Alcoholism, like many other things, is a disease that can get worse over a period of time. For instance, alcoholics may experience intensified cravings for the substance so they are compelled to drink in spite of all the alcohol-related problems that they are experiencing like getting trouble in school, being involved in illegal matters, losing a job, and wrecking relationships.

  • Statistics show that in around 15% of drinkers, 1 out of 7 is most likely to develop alcohol dependence that or an alcohol abuse problem.
  • Young people who start to drink alcohol before the age of 15 are also four times more likely to incur alcohol dependence compared to those that had their first encounter with alcohol at 21.
  • Over 43 percent of the youth population, who started drinking before the age of 14, are most certain to become alcoholics later in life.
  • Alcoholism is a disease that is affecting a lot more people than heart attacks, breast cancer, lung cancer, and diabetes.

It has become a disease that is as common as high blood pressure or hypertension.

Researchers have discovered 4 basic symptoms of the disease and these symptoms can appear anytime and in any order in a drinker’s life. One of the symptoms of alcoholism is craving, which is characterized by the strong need to drink. Another symptom is impaired control or the drinker’s total inability to put a limit on his drinking habits despite knowing the many dangers that come with alcohol consumption. Physical dependence is another symptom, where the drinker tries to stop the use of alcohol even just for a short time, but will almost immediately begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The side effects of withdrawal include anxiety, shakiness, sweating and nausea.

Alcoholism is also known to develop to tolerance or the need to increase the amounts of the substance used so that the same effects will be felt. More importantly, alcoholism can lead to permanent changes in your brain that can lead to physical discomfort when you choose to go without alcohol.

Alcoholism can happen to just about anyone.

There are cases when the history of an alcoholic is traced back from a non-drinking family. However, alcoholism has been discovered to be genetically founded. If you have alcoholic parents, for example, some genetic factors may be pointed to developing an alcoholic problem. There are others, moreover, who are driven into alcoholism due to environmental factors such as pressure, extreme stress, as well as the ease of access to alcohol. These factors make the disease more likely to happen.

Alcoholism appears to be triggered by a range of factors.

While more research needs to be conducted in order to discover the relationship and the strength of the influence of genes and the environment on the disease, it is possible that environmental influences would be as important as the influence of genetics.

It is likely that what children of alcoholic parents have in their genes is not the disease itself, but the great vulnerability to incur the disease.

The series of research being done concerning the link between alcoholism and genetics is expected to help the potential to incur the disease in high-risk people make sense and how to help them during the early stage of development. Genetic research is also expected to help in the development of new treatments for problems related to alcohol.

Remember that it does not mean that all children with at least one alcoholic parent will be alcoholics or that those who come from non-alcoholic backgrounds are safe from alcoholism. Research only aims to help determine why children whose parents suffer from alcoholism are more vulnerable to develop the disease.

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