The Genetic Inheritance of Alcoholism Essay Paper

Conduct a literature search of recent journal articles (peer reviewed) within the last three years that pertain to your topic. You must select three articles for this assignment.

Synthesize the knowledge gained from the chapter readings and your literature research into a comprehensive understanding of the topic.Explain and evaluate the data, assertions, findings, and/or claims made in the literature.Identify any evidence-based support for the claims made in the literature.Draw and summarize your own unique conclusions based on a comprehensive understanding of the topic and your research. The Genetic Inheritance of Alcoholism Essay Paper

Your paper should be 4–5 pages in length (excluding cover page and references page).Include at least three scholarly sources in your paper in addition to citing the course etext.

Use APA format to style your paper and to cite your sources. Your source(s) should be integrated into the paragraphs. Use internal citations pointing to evidence in the literature and supporting your ideas. You will need to include a reference page listing those sources.

The Genetic Inheritance of Alcoholism

According to Saraswat et al (2016), alcoholism is the chronic and constant alcohol consumption typified by impaired control over drinking, regular intoxication periods, and using alcohol in spite of the adverse effects.  This is supported by flushing Tawa et al (2016) who explains that alcoholism is a chronic mental health condition typified by alcohol intake patterns that cause detrimental physical, emotional, and social outcomes. According to the CDC report, alcoholism leads to about 88,000 deaths annually within the US, indicating high morbidity and mortality. The contribution if genetics to alcoholism has been supported for a long time (Stickel et al, 2017).

Hereditary researches propose that the genotype of a person conveys a certain degree of susceptibility or risk to alcoholism (Saraswat et al, 2016). Therefore, alcohol progression can be attributed to various biochemical and neurobiological determinants that lead to alcohol addiction. For example, first, first-degree family members have been shown to be a risk factor to alcoholism and also evidence shows that identical twin of alcoholism subjects are more predisposed to alcoholism when compared to other siblings (Stickel et al, 2017). These findings indicate that alcoholism and the proportion of predisposition are genetical. Similarly, a study by Saraswat et al, (2016) indicated that children of parents who are alcoholics have a tendency of experiencing early onset alcoholic problems and exhibiting personality disorders; indicating a more heritable type of alcoholism. Genes can directly or indirectly elevate or reduce an individual’s risk to alcoholism. For example, some individuals from Asia have a gene that changes interferes with their alcohol metabolism, where after taking alcohol they develop symptoms such as vomiting, fast pulse rate, and flushing (Tawa et al, 2016). Majority of individuals experiencing these effects basically avoid consuming alcohol and this protects them from developing alcoholism.


Genes have been shown to be directly involved in the development of alcoholism because genes affect the metabolism of alcohol by the body or genes also affects an individual’s personality traits such as their susceptibility to distress making such an individual be susceptible to alcoholism (Stickel et al, 2017). Genetic susceptibility of alcohol might be prompted in individual traits through anxiety or depression, which predisposes an individual to alcohol-seeking behavior (Tawa et al, 2016). Stress and anxiety have been shown to significantly contribute to alcohol dependence and therefore genetic traits that predispose people to stress and anxiety can be partly associated with alcoholism as well. This is because behavioral disorders with a genetic origin can elevate the risk of alcoholism.  The Genetic Inheritance of Alcoholism Essay Paper

Certain genes allied to adult alcohol dependence have been demonstrated to influence behavior problems during early development. However, Tawa et al (2016) argue that even though specific genes have a direct effect on alcohol dependence, there is a high likelihood that the pertinent gene affects a number of genetically influenced intermediate traits referred to as ‘endophenotypes’ that consequently influence the predisposition for alcoholism. According to Saraswat et al (2016), there are various endophenotypes associated with predisposition to alcoholism. Endophenotypes related to the risk of alcoholism include the level of response (LR) to alcohol which has a heritability of 0.4–0.6. This trait predisposes people to heavy drinking and alcoholism as well. Therefore, this shows that endophenotypes play a role in alcoholism and therefore people who inherit this endophenotype from their parents have a higher risk of alcoholism when compared to individuals who do not carry this phenotype. Stickel et al (2017) provide that genomic linkage studies in families affected by alcoholism showed evidence of linkage. However, the genomic locations that significantly demonstrate linkage with alcoholism have numerous plausible candidates like the ADH and GABA receptor gene clusters; all these are located on chromosome further supporting the evidence that alcohol dependence has a genetic predisposition. (GABA) neurotransmission is associated with alcohol dependence, particularly thea2GABAAreceptor subunit gene (GABRA2) that is located on chromosome 4p. A study conducted by Tawa et al (2016) reported that there is a substantial relationship between alcoholism and 31 SNPs inGABRA2.

Stickel et al (2017) state that that genes associated with alcohol dependence are those that encode the enzymes that play a role in the metabolism of alcohol. Alcohol metabolism includes converting ethanol to intermediate acetaldehyde a process that is expedited by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes while the second step is facilitated by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzymes. As per Tawa et al (2016), there are numerous variants of genes that encode ADH and ALDH enzymes exist and as a result, there is a variation in the building blocks of the DNA sequence. Studies have established changed protein products of various alleles in genes that encode both ADH and ALDH; in studies, these alleles encode proteins that exhibit high enzymatic activities (Stickel et al, 2017). This indicates that in individuals who carry these alleles, conversion of alcohol into acetaldehyde is rapid. This clearly indicates that alcoholism may be influenced by genes that encode ADH and ALDH enzymes and therefore it alcoholism is a genetically predisposed disorder. In addition, studies have established that an area on chromosome 4 that has the ADH gene clusters demonstrate linkage to phenotypes (Tawa et al, 2016). The cluster has other numerous polymorphic genes that are linked to alcoholism as well as to the genes that encode ADH class enzymes.

Additionally, DRD2 gene that is located on chromosome 11 (q22-q23) has been shown to be allied to higher alcohol intake via mechanisms that involve enticement salience designations and craving in individuals with alcoholism (Stickel et al (2017). DRD2 is a G protein-coupled receptor that plays the role of mediating mesocorticolimbic pathways.  The DRD2 gene encodes dopamine D2 receptors that play the role of governing various physiologic function, hormone production as well as substance abuse such as alcoholism (Stickel et al (2017). Therefore, the DRD2 gene is involved in the development of alcohol addiction because it encodes receptors that regulate addictions such as alcoholism.

Generally, genes are passed from parents to the offspring and among the trains that parents pass on to their offspring include predisposition to alcoholism. Individuals with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism have an increased risk of being addicted to alcohol. This is well illustrated by Saraswat et al (2016) who explains that children of parents addicted to alcohol and were adopted during birth and did not contact their alcoholic parents ended up developing alcoholism more frequently when compared to adopted children of parents who were not alcoholics. Evidence also shows that 18 percent of male children whose parents suffered from alcoholism end up developing alcoholism.  Further evidence indicates that 50-60 percent risk of developing alcohol dependency can be attributed to genetics and inheritance of alcoholism behavioral traits (Saraswat et al, 2016). An individual having a family history of alcohol addiction thus has a higher probability of being an alcoholic.


Saraswat S, Kushwaha S & Nganba K. (2016). Genetic Predisposition to Alcoholism. Journal of Public Health and Allied Sciences. 1(1), 5-10.

Stickel F, Moreno C, Hampe J & Morgan M. (2017). The genetics of alcohol dependence and alcohol-related liver disease. Journal of Hepatology. 1(66), 195–21.

Tawa E, Hall S & Lohoff F. (2016). Overview of the Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Alcohol. 51(5), 507–514.   The Genetic Inheritance of Alcoholism Essay Paper



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