Alcoholism, also defined as alcohol abuse can be a very testing brain illness to endure, down to the common consequences of hazardous and excessive alcohol consumption. While we’re fully aware of the clinical diagnosis of alcoholism, unfortunately, many onlookers do perceive such actions as voluntary.
To the eye, this is understandable, as alcoholism begins through alcohol abuse, which is a physical action. However, as we delve deeper into the uncontrollable characteristics of addiction, such reasoning is devalued, as there are many internal and external influential stimuli, triggering alcoholism risks.
This is where the question of ‘is alcoholism hereditary?’ lies, where some believe that alcoholism is the result of genetics, and where others see alcoholism as a taught, normalised and accepted behaviour.
Through this blog, we consider all influential stimulus, commonly triggering and developing the risks of alcoholism, along with how we at Rehab Clinics Group can help those suffering from alcohol abuse.
Is alcoholism hereditary or environmental?
Alcoholism, to a degree, is in fact hereditary, based on scientific evidence surrounding probability rates. Children of alcoholics are found to be 4 times more likely to abuse alcohol, in later life, in comparison to those whose parents do not drink or drink within reason.
However, through the debate of whether alcoholism is hereditary or environmental, vast research also suggests how acceptance and the normalisation of alcohol abuse, within an environment or social setting can motivate addictive characteristics.
Understandably, for some individuals, an influential environment will lead the way when considering alcohol consumption. Many do in fact believe that a negative environment, motivating such abuse must be combined with hereditary risks, in order to increase the materialisation of alcoholism.
However, addiction is a complex and personal illness, which can be caused by a multitude of reasons, including social, emotional, environmental, biological and spiritual factors.
Genetic vulnerabilities to alcohol
Our genetics are passed onto us by our biological parents. Through our genetics, certain traits, along with health ailments can be forwarded on, without any control or say.
For some, increased susceptibility to addictive, compulsive and habitual behaviours can be carried through genetics, resulting in vulnerabilities. This backs the possibility of hereditary influences, motivating the addiction rates of alcohol.
A similar process is also experienced when considering mental health issues, which falls very closely to addiction development, down to psychological pressures and weaknesses.
While the exact genes, carrying such risks are yet to be identified, research has found alcoholism to be a hereditary condition, where such behaviours can be passed on, even if physical exposure of such behaviours is minimal/non-existent.
Environmental vulnerabilities to alcohol
Similarly, to genetical vulnerabilities, environments can influence the excessive consumption of alcohol, which if uncontrolled, can develop into alcoholism. Stressful, toxic and unhealthy environments are found to be the key driving forces, where alcohol is regularly present, where its consumption is normalised, and where alcohol is seen as a strong coping strategy.
While internally, we may all have varying makeups, behaviours are taught, are nurtured and are normalised, through upbringing, through society and through our surroundings. This fully backs the environmental influences of alcoholism, and how pressurising atmospheres can increase the attractiveness of reliance.
Influencing factors of alcoholism
By considering the above vulnerabilities, it’s clear to see how both hereditary and environmental influences can motivate alcoholism or the initial abuse of alcohol. However, there are a wealth of alternative influencing factors, on internal and external bases which can also increase the risk of alcohol abuse.
Social situations, relationships, interactions, norms and pressures can all influence the initial misuse of alcohol. Whether that’s linked to stress, to toxicity or to the part that alcohol can play in social situations, vulnerabilities within such areas can increase the risks of alcoholism.
Mental health influences
Closely linked to hereditary influences, pre-existing mental health issues can motivate the use of alcohol, on an excessive basis, which if uncontrolled, can amount to alcoholism.
Our minds can be very strong when considering our thoughts, our opinions and our actions. However, through emotional vulnerabilities, and through excessive alcohol exposure, our minds can increase the susceptibility of reliance, making habitual behaviours easier to maintain.
Spiritual beliefs are known to trigger the initial abuse of alcohol, which if combined with consistent exposure and the positive effects can materialise into a habit, highly correlating with the formation of alcoholism.
Through the above, it’s therefore easy to see how alcoholism can be triggered and heightened by a range of internal and external influences. Yet, commonly, for those influences to result in weighty consequences, vulnerabilities will usually be present, whether that’s genetical, emotional, environmental, social or spiritual.
To answer, ‘is alcoholism hereditary?’, it therefore can be for some individuals, down to genetic sensitivities to alcohol. However, it isn’t a key contributor to every diagnosis of alcoholism.
Overcoming alcoholism and its impacts
Alcoholism is a testing condition to live with as it’s multifaceted, impacting varying areas of life. Health concerns are one of the most common consequences of excessive alcohol abuse, surrounding mental health issues, organ disease and failure, and secondary illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer.
However, further consequences can be encountered where alcohol becomes a priority, diminishing the value of life, relationships, personal intentions and experiences.
The reality of living with any degree or form of addiction can be very sad, which is why we’re here at Rehab Clinics Group, to offer a way out. Overcoming alcoholism is possible with the right support, no matter whether your causation is linked to your environment, emotional state or even down to hereditary reasons.
However, depending on your causation, a personal rehabilitation programme can be offered to alleviate the strain of such influences, along with making sobriety a sustainable option.
Contact our team today for more information on supportive treatments and resources for alcoholics, along with the mental health support we offer.
There will always be conflicting beliefs surrounding addiction. However, the important message to take away from this blog is that all addictions are different, that they are personal and sensitive conditions to live with, and that no form of causation, including hereditary links, can deter addiction recovery.