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Friday, August 12, 2016

Genetic Underpinnings of Alcoholism

alcoholism
Addiction is a complex disease that few understand, and one that no one may ever understand completely. What is well understood is what can happen if the disease of addiction is left untreated—jails, institutions and death. Alcohol continues to be the most commonly abused mind altering substance, and is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

People often muse over why do some people become addicted to alcohol, while others do not? Naturally, the answer to that question involves a number of different factors, from genetics, brain chemistry and environment.

The science behind addiction is complicated, but research teams around the globe continue to shed light on the disease—a disorder which affects tens of millions of people. In fact, researchers at Purdue and Indiana University have identified 930 genes associated with alcoholism, as well as neurological pathways which could potentially serve as targets for treating the disorder, according to a Purdue University press release. The findings of the study were published in PLOS: Genetics.

The research teams compared the genomes of rats, that exhibited compulsive drinking behavior, to rats that abstained from alcohol use, according to the report. The researchers point out that it took decades to breed rats to consume alcohol. Scientifically, it was important to do so when you consider that rats are mammals that humans share a majority of genes. While the research is promising, the scope of factors at play may make it hard for pharmaceutical treatments to be created.

"It's not one gene, one problem," said William Muir, a professor of genetics. "This trait is controlled by vast numbers of genes and networks. This probably dashes water on the idea of treating alcoholism with a single pill."

Research will continue and at Celebrate Hope our Christian alcohol rehab program continues to be  offered in conjunction with advanced medical treatments from Hope by the Sea. This allows clients to have access to fellowship, physical fitness, and faith-building activities. Each program empowers addicts to reconcile with God and loved ones. In treating alcohol abuse, our counselors recognize that every addict’s struggle is unique.

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