The Penn Medicine team identified 18 genetic variants that are related to either heavy alcohol consumption, alcohol use disorder, or both. Five of these variants overlapped, while eight were associated solely with heavy alcohol consumption. Another five were traced with alcohol use disorder only.
One finding from the study was that, although heavy drinking is a prerequisite for alcoholism, variants for particular genes may predispose someone towards alcoholism. Examples of gene variants cited by the Penn Medicine researchers are DRD2 and SIX3. This finding is important because identifying these gene variants in a person may help medical professionals better ascertain their risk for alcohol use disorder.
Ultimately, paying attention to the genetic aspect of a persons alcohol use disorder may contribute to their treatment. There are ongoing studies about patients receptiveness to certain medications for treatment, based on their genes.
For example, naltrexone is a drug thats commonly used to treat dependence on alcohol, as well as opiates. In research cited by the NIAAA, it was found that patients with a specific gene variation responded positively to naltrexone treatment. Those who didnt have the gene, however, did not. In the future, this kind of information may factor into the accuracy and responsiveness of medical treatment for alcohol addiction.
Conclusion: Unlocking Important New Knowledge about Genetics and Alcohol Addiction
Though the relationship between genes and alcoholism has been under scrutinous scientific study for some time, it isnt always common knowledge to laymen. But not being able to see the bigger picture of what contributes to alcoholism may allow certain myths about it to prevail. Many people may still believe that alcohol addiction is 100% a personal choice. But as the information above about genetics and alcohol use disorder portray, its never that simple.
In any case, whether genes influence someones predisposition to alcohol use disorder, no attempt at healing from it is a futile one. Be both compassionate and knowledgeable when approaching the issue of alcoholismbecause your support could save a life.
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Genetics and Alcohol Use Disorder: 5 Things You Should Know - Longevity LIVE
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