Are Alcoholism/ Addiction Hereditary?

Alcoholism and addiction are two of the more confusing illnesses that we know of. For all of the great strides that the medical and psychiatric fields have made in the past 50 years, there is still much that we do not know about these diseases. We still have not isolated the genes that possibly result in alcoholic or addictive behaviors. We still do not know why some people are seemingly able to curb their addictive actions easier than others and we still do not know all of the mitigating factors that cause a person to become an alcoholic or addict. In fact, alcoholism and addiction are so mysterious in certain ways that there are some factions that still hold on to the notion that they are not disease, but something else entirely.

The reason that there is so much skepticism and misinformation when it comes to alcoholism and addiction is not entirely clear. It may be that it is just a complex disease consisting of biological and environmental conditions that create the disease or it may just be the societal stigma attached to these illnesses. But what can be said is that the nature of these diseases has lead to a number of different questions, with people on each side of aisle believing their stance to be the truth. One such question is: is alcoholism and addiction hereditary?

Are Alcoholism and Addiction Hereditary?

There has long been a debate about the nature in which alcoholism and addiction spreads from one generation to the next. Like with other such topics the question always arises, is alcoholism and addiction hereditary or is it a learned behavior that the child has witnessed throughout their youth and so therefore takes on the trait themselves at some point in their life. While majority of the medical field seems to believe at this point that there is some sort of genetic component that makes one predisposed to alcoholism or addiction, a gene that is specifically passed down that causes this has not yet been isolated.

In regards to, is alcoholism and addiction hereditary; hereditary means the actual passing of genetic material that causes the child to have the same predisposition to an illness as the parent. For children of alcoholics or addicts, this does seem to be the case because they are 4 times more likely to develop a problem with addiction during the course of their life, than those who did not grow up in an addicted household.

Yet alcoholism and addiction are not determined entirely by genes, meaning that there can be two children in the same household, with essentially the same genes, both predisposed to alcoholism and addiction, and one will experience addiction, while the other will not. Researchers believe this to be the result of environmental and other psychosocial factors that allow for the one child to cope and not engage with their alcoholism, while the other experiences their environment differently and this helps to foster their alcoholism.


Studies have also been done on twins of alcoholic and addict parents. These studies showed that when one of the twins displayed addictive behaviors, the other twin was at more of a risk for becoming addicted at some point in their life. But where it gets tricky is with twins who have been separated at birth and raised in different households. Some of the studies have shown that both twins, who have never met each other and were raised in very different circumstances, both suffer from alcoholism and addiction, while other studies have shown that only one of the twins became addicted while the other did not.

It is these unusual results when it comes to alcoholism and addiction that lead researchers to believe that alcoholism and addiction are not just solely hereditary, but that there are others factors that go into causing addiction to express itself in the individual.

Regardless of this, what can be said is that children who have a parent or parents that are addicted, are at a much greater risk for developing addiction at some point in their life and as such should be more aware and careful with the choices that they make in regards to alcohol or drugs.

What are Alcoholism and Addiction?

Alcoholism and addiction are not just simply an inability to stop drinking or using drugs due to some moral failing, but rather it is chronic disease that causes an individual to pathologically pursue alcohol and drugs with little to no regards for the risk of their behavior. These diseases are obsessions and compulsions and while the actions of the individual, like stealing, ruining relationships, etc. may make no sense from the outside looking in to the person addicted, they are necessary in order to maintain the addiction and often times they are beyond the control of the individual.

A person in active addiction or alcoholism is in a sense trapped in a cycle of behavior that they cannot get out and many times they are not even entirely aware that there is a problem. They can view their life and not see the entirety of the mess that is being caused or even believe that it is now the result of the drugs and alcohol. This denial that the alcoholic or addict faces are one of the reasons why treating an addiction of any type can be very difficult and so if you or a loved one seems to have a problem with alcoholism or addiction, then you should seek professional help in order to assist them.

Finding Treatment for Alcoholism or Addiction

Millions of people around the world suffer from an addiction of some sorts and millions have found the help necessary in order to break free from their addiction. If you think that you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs then call the professionals at Dream Center for Recovery today at 1-877-978-3148. We can help you find your own personal road to recovery and give you the tools necessary to finally overcome your addiction and lead a happy and sober life. Don’t delay, call today.