father and son sitting on log talking about whether alcoholism is hereditary

Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

Your genetic structure determines a lot of things about you, including your health, physical disposition, psychology, and behavior. As such, your behavioral traits influence your thinking and behavior. Part of your behavior may include your predisposition to abuse drugs or alcohol. So is alcoholism hereditary?

While genes alone do not determine if you will become an alcoholic or drug addict, they can influence your level of risk after you use a substance for the first time. The important thing is not whether alcoholism is hereditary. Instead, it is what you do to prevent it or treat it. If you struggle with alcoholism, you may benefit from a professional team at an alcohol addiction treatment center.

What About Your Environment?

While studies suggest that genetics influence addiction, many other factors can impact if and how you struggle with substances. Even if your addiction wasn’t passed down to you biologically, it might have been passed down to you socially.

Genetic makeup accounts for only a portion of your risk of being an alcoholic. One main factor that you need to consider is how you grew up. If your family, friends, or immediate community all drank or took drugs, you might be more likely to struggle with drug or alcohol abuse.

Keep in mind that your environment doesn’t just include your home life. If all of your friends engage in heavy drinking regularly, that increases your chances of picking up alcohol and drinking consistently. The weekend benders with friends can quickly become a habit that eventually becomes an addiction.

Some other social and environmental factors that can influence addiction include:

  • Witnessing substance abuse at a young age and experiencing trauma associated with it
  • Attending a school or community that has high rates of drug and alcohol use
  • Having easy access to drugs and alcohol in your neighborhood, school, fraternity, or other social settings
  • Living in an area where drugs and alcohol are readily available
  • Experiencing peer pressure to use substances

What About Mental Illness?

Since addiction affects the brain and relies on complex emotions, it significantly affects other mental illnesses and vice versa. If you have a mental illness that later leads to alcoholism, alcoholism may be hereditary.

When we think about genetics and alcoholism, we often think about the chemical makeup in the brain predisposed to drinking. However, genetics does not always present a direct link to alcoholism. You may become a heavy drinker due to a mental illness that develops over time.

Some of the most common mental illnesses associated with alcoholism include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Mental illness contributes to a high rate of alcoholism and drug abuse, as many people who have a disorder turn to a substance to self-medicate. This connection may indirectly link hereditary traits that produce a mental disorder and alcoholism.

Are You at Risk of Becoming an Alcoholic?

Regardless of genetics, you can reduce the risk of becoming an alcoholic simply by living a healthy life. Managing stress, eating healthy, exercising, maintaining positive relationships, and understanding the symptoms of addiction, can all promote a healthy lifestyle free of substance abuse.

If you notice that you are drinking too much, then take steps to eliminate alcohol from your life. You may want to seek counseling or visit an alcohol addiction treatment center in Texas. Be proactive in eliminating an addiction before it takes over your life.

Learn More About Alcoholism at Right Step Hill Country

If you struggle with alcoholism, get on the path to sobriety with The Right Step. Regardless of where your addiction started, you can commit to a lifetime of healthy recovery. Your treatment plan at our Wimberley, TX could include:

  • Detoxification
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Sober living and aftercare support

Your success in sobriety is our top priority. Take comfort in knowing a strong team of caring recovery specialists and medical professionals will safely guide your detoxification and rehabilitation.

Find out more at Right Step Hill Country. We offer comprehensive treatment for all types of addictions. To find out more about your treatment options, call us at 1.844.675.1628. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.

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