If you have a parent or other family member who struggles with alcohol use disorder (AUD), you might wonder whether it is safe for you to drink. You may worry over whether AUD runs in your family and think you are destined to become addicted if you indulge. Although genetics play a crucial role in your risk for alcohol use disorder, it is often not enough to lead to AUD on its own. Other factors must also be present for alcohol consumption to lead to addiction.
If you find it difficult to moderate your alcohol consumption and have a family history of AUD, it can take more than willpower to help you cut back on drinking. Confidant Health's online medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use can help you manage cravings and withdrawal discomfort, so you can achieve your goals of reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption. Reach out to our team today to find out more about how medication-assisted treatment works to curb alcohol misuse and help you manage AUD.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic condition in which a person cannot moderate their alcohol consumption regardless of its adverse impacts on their life. If you have AUD, you may drink heavily, binge drink, or drink more than intended because your brain has become dependent on alcohol to function.
What Causes Alcohol Use Disorder?
There are several causes for alcohol use disorder, although it often takes more than one to culminate in AUD. Some common causes of alcohol use disorder include:
- Alcohol misuse
- Mental health conditions
If you have one or more of the above factors, you may be predisposed to AUD, although this does not mean you cannot drink in moderation. It is a warning sign that you may want to be more careful about limiting your alcohol consumption or avoiding it altogether.
Is Alcohol Use Disorder Genetic?
Genetics affect how likely you are to develop an alcohol use disorder, accounting for half the risk for AUD. If you have a family history of alcohol use disorder, you are more susceptible to this chronic disease. However, this doesn't mean you will develop AUD if you drink alcohol. Instead, it can indicate that you should consider abstaining or being vigilant about moderate alcohol consumption.
Alcohol Use Disorder, Genetics, and Environment
Genetics plays a pertinent role in a person's risk of developing alcohol use disorder, although environmental and social factors are also important. A study on alcohol misuse among people who were adopted found that those with biological parents with alcohol use disorder were more likely to engage in alcohol misuse, even when raised by adoptive parents who did not struggle with AUD.
Even if you have a genetic variant that increases the likelihood of alcohol dependence, that doesn't mean you cannot enjoy alcohol in moderation. Studies showed that genetic variants combined with childhood challenges like abuse or loss of a parent or strong predictors of AUD risk. It takes more than one risk factor to lead to an alcohol use disorder. Your environment also plays a key role. Growing up in a household where alcohol is consumed regularly may make you more likely to drink. Also, having friends or a partner who consumes alcohol can influence your drinking behavior.