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Alcoholism: Genetic or a Learned Behavior

Alcoholism: Genetic or Learned Behavior? First, before I could answer this question, I had to do a little research. Alcohol addiction is a physical dependence on alcohol which occurs gradually. Over time, drink too much alcohol changed the balance of chemicals in your brain associated with the pleasure aspects of drinking alcohol.

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Excessive, long-term drinking can affect the balance of these chemicals, causing your body to crave alcohol to restore good feelings or to avoid negative feelings. “Alcoholism was officially recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association in 1991”. ( http://www. earn-about-alcoholism. com/alcoholism-disease. html ). What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism inherited from a parent or is alcoholism a learned behavior? I chose this subject because I have a cousin who is 21 and already and alcoholic. According to him, he has been drinking since he was 10, while it was only a gulp of beer when his dad’s back was turned; it was still a step towards his current condition. Now I wonder, is he an alcoholic because he inherited this trait genetically from his dad (whose dad was also an alcoholic), or is he an alcoholic because of the environment in which he was raised and influenced.According to NCADI (Fact is Alcoholism Runs in Family), reports show that children of alcoholics are four times more likely to grow up to be an alcoholic than any other children. Scientists agree that genetic anomalies were the primary causative factor in at least some forms of alcoholism. (http://www. neurogenesis. com/Articles-Library/Foundational-Studies/The-Alcoholic-Gene. php ). Now scientists have to determine what these genes are and whether they are specific for alcohol or define something more general, such as differences in temperament or personality that increase an individual’s vulnerability to alcoholism.There was a study done in Sweden that followed alcohol use in twins who were adopted as children and raised apart. The study showed that alcoholism was slightly higher among those who were exposed to alcoholism only through adoptive families. However, it was dramatically higher among the twins whose biological fathers were alcoholics, regardless of the presence of alcoholism in their adoptive families. (http://alcoholism. about. com/cs/genetics/a/aa990517. htm) The studies also showed one twin doesn’t always become an alcoholic just because