Alcohol Awareness Class

Multiple Genetic Factors May Be Cause of Alcohol Dependence

Recent studies suggest Alcoholism or Alcohol Dependence has several genetic factors instead of a single genetic risk factor.

More than 7,500 adult male and female twins were studied in the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders to determine the structure of genetic risk for Alcoholism

They found that three genetic factors reflect risk for (1) increased tolerance and heavy use, (2) loss of control with alcohol-associated social dysfunction, and (3) withdrawal and use despite problems.

Though these results are preliminary, authors state that they could influence future efforts to study genetic risk factors for Alcoholism. The authors note that previous studies “have looked at the magnitude of genetic factors assuming that a single dimension of genetic liability.”

They recommend reconsidering these earlier conclusions in light of the results of this study. This new study indicates that several genetic factors—not just one—influence risk for Alcoholism.

As a result, the study’s authors argue that the assumption of a single genetic risk factor “is unwarranted and should not continue to be accepted before being subjected to empirical test.”