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Hereditary Alcoholism – It Can Be A Family Affair

If there is a history of alcoholism in your family, you run a far greater risk of developing drinking problems than those with a family background devoid of such problems.

Why is this the case?

The reason is related to genetics. All human traits are shaped by our genetic structure. Your DNA defines individual physical and behavioural characteristics. Examples are the colour of your eyes and the type of nature you have.

One of the behavioural traits that can be passed on is a tendency to abuse alcohol, or allow your alcohol consumption to become so uncontrollable that you will be classified as an alcoholic.

Your parents pass these characteristics on and so the process continues throughout generations of families.

Alcoholic tendencies can be inherited but are not always developed:

Just because you inherit alcoholic tendencies does not mean you are destined to have problems with alcohol. Many men and women who have inherited such tendencies may never drink in their life, or, if they do drink it is only in moderation.

The problem becomes far more serious if these tendencies are coupled with challenging social factors which combine to produce adverse effects.

The environment you are raised and live in has a major influence:

A person’s genetic structure contributes to half of the reason why people are likely to struggle with alcohol issues, but it must have a ‘partner’ to fuel the possibility of being classed as an alcoholic.

This very important partner cannot be attributed to heredity, but has everything to do with your circumstances. It contributes the remaining 50% as to why alcohol becomes a major problem for so many. It is all to do with the environment you are raised and live in.

There are many environmental factors that can swing the alcohol dependence pendulum the wrong way. These include early memories of parents drinking excessively, or often seen to be drunk, or being subject to and witnessing physical and psychological violence.

Strong impressions of uneasy or strained relationships amongst immediate and extended family members can play a part, while many are subjected to sexual abuse which is never revealed to anyone.

Many also find as they grow older access to illicit drugs is an everyday occurrence in their neighbourhood, and the suffering caused as well as the devastating effects these illegal substances bring have negative effects on their outlook of life.

It is not surprising that stress is common in such environments:

The majority of people who have led what society would term a structured, ‘normal’ upbringing would suffer from a bout of stress simply trying to comprehend this type of environment. They would surely be unable to envisage such difficulties and the chaos created.

It is therefore completely understandable why so many raised and living in such conditions are prone to stress. A natural way for many to react is to reach for alcohol in an attempt to alleviate the pressure they are under, and forget immediate problems.

Others may well have gone through a traumatic episode during their life. Those that have find turning to the bottle is a common way to ease and dull the unwanted memories of such life-affecting incidents.

There are many other reasons stress can affect a person, but let’s just finish off with two that can become common incidents. These are getting stressed over personal relationships which are going through a bad patch and causing sadness as well as angst.

And many find the regular pressure of a work situation where either the amount you are tasked to do is way too much, or conflicts with other employees and management serve to light the fuse on that rapidly ticking stress time-bomb.

Turning to drink may seem the sensible solution – Sadly it is the opposite:

If your upbringing, teenage years and life to date has been filled with challenges, unwanted memories and negative incidents, or you have suffered a devastating trauma, the idea of alcohol becoming your escape and saviour is very likely to have great appeal.

Convincing yourself that this route is the best solution will not be too difficult. After all, it is common knowledge that a drink or two can relax and do wonders in the ‘things to forget’ department.

Unfortunately, the temptation for many in such a situation is to begin drinking more regularly and more heavily. Once this cycle begins it can gather pace rapidly.

Before many realise, alcohol dependence has crept up. A drink is now needed simply to get you started, then regular top up’s are swallowed throughout the day leaving a blurry evening where the personal drink count is long forgotten.

Do not keep worries, troublesome thoughts and stress to yourself:

The saying “A problem shared is a problem halved” is so relevant if you are finding the bottle is becoming the answer to everything, or that point has been passed and deep down you realise how close you are to the alcoholism abyss.

Don’t soak yourself in alcohol and struggle unaided. If there is a very close friend or family member you feel you can confide in, then start there. Explain your feelings and thoughts, and ask for their support.

Also make a call to your local alcohol rehab centre, or contact one of the fully qualified staff at an inpatient rehab establishment. They will offer sound, completely confidential advice on how to go about treatment and start a healing process aimed at a life that has no room for alcohol in it.

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