Alcohol Alert: Family Genetics

Post By: Brianna Becker


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Are you predestined to drink? People are often told that alcoholism runs in the family but that saying may actually have quite a bit of truth behind it. Scientists are getting closer to discovering a gene that causes binge drinking. If this gene proves to effect binge drinking then there is more likelihood for a treatment in the future.

This gene is known as Gabrb1. Those with this gene prefer the taste of alcohol over water and it makes up nearly 85 percent of their daily fluid intake. Chemicals that control pleasure and reward in the brain trigger this gene mutation.

However, this is a new development and does not mean that all binge drinkers have this gene. Binge drinking is very much linked to nature versus nurture, hereditary versus environmental. It is split 50/50 whether the family history affects drinking. Fifty percent have no history of alcoholism while the remaining fifty percent does have a history. Having only fifty percent having a past family history of alcoholism does not sound as severe, but when you consider that seven million children live in a home with at least one parent that has abused alcohol, the statistic sounds more critical.

Parents impact their child/children before they are even born. If significant strides are not taken in the vital young years than the child is predestined to lead a similar drinking life of the provider.

It is important to note that those with the ‘alcohol gene’ are not predetermined to become alcoholics or binge drinkers that is only half of the battle. 

So, if people do not have the Gabrb1 gene or family history what leads people to drink? People drink to man up, hook up, forger that they’re miserable, get drunk, enjoy the drink, relax and socialize. They encounter environmental factors overtime and that makes up the other fifty percent of binge drinkers. These environmental factors are the nature behind binge drinking.

As of now there is no easy test to find out if you have the Gabrb1 gene. It is important to be very cautious regarding drinking. Everyone handles alcohol differently and alcohol puts people at risk. It is important to be a good role model to adolescents to promote a healthy, clean lifestyle. While it will be good to have a cure for alcoholism and binge drinking, it will still take some time for scientists to test and prove. It is never good to rely on medicine to cure your problems. Make good choices now so that the future is better for generations to come.

While people are not necessarily predestined to drink they do have a higher likelihood to struggle with drinking. As always, it is all right to drink but know the facts and make smarter, educated decisions.



Mail Online. (2013, November 26). Could You Have The Binge Drinking Gene?. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from,

Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorders. (n.d.). NIAAA Spectrum. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from,


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