Genetic Links to Alcoholism - Banyan Treatment Center

Genetic Links to Alcoholism


Alcoholism is a disorder that has a spectrum of intensities, including alcohol use disorder and full-blown addiction.

But what are the risk factors for being an alcoholic? This is a nature vs nurture debate, and many believe that alcoholism causes and risk factors are behavioral without any genetic input. But a recent study shows genetic links to alcoholism, and many alcoholics share the same genetic factors.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, call 888-280-4763 to learn more about how our Gilman treatment facility can help. We offer full support to help patients recover from active alcohol abuse.

Is Alcoholism Genetic or Learned Behavior?

There are certain genetic factors associated with increased risk for alcoholism. Genetic alcoholism risk factors include variants in specific genes, DRD2 and SIX3. The research also found that alcohol use disorder was correlated with 111 other conditions, including a greater risk of psychiatric disorders and insomnia.1

While these genetic variants may indicate a greater risk for developing alcoholism, further studies must be done to determine the full correlation between genetic variations and alcohol use disorder. Though alcoholism may be genetic, there are still behavioral components that increase the risk of developing this addiction.

Though researchers have found common genetic variants that may influence alcoholism risk factors, a genetic risk does not guarantee that someone will become an alcoholic. Many doctors still regard alcoholism and addiction as learning disorders, meaning that alcoholism can also be a learned behavior. This is especially true for patients who have co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD and alcoholism, where one disorder fuels the other.

So, is alcoholism a genetic or a learned behavior? The short answer is – possibly both. Recent research shows the possible genetic influences of alcoholism, but history also shows that the condition can be connected to behavioral patterns. More research needs to be conducted on these gene variants to see their full effects on disorders including alcoholism or substance abuse.

Treating Alcoholism

Though alcoholism may be a genetic disease for some, it can still be treated. At Banyan Heartland, we offer alcoholism treatment in Gilman. Our facility provides alcohol detox in Illinois and residential treatment for those who are looking for guidance in achieving sobriety.

Don’t let alcoholism ruin your life. While there do exist genetic links to alcoholism, the right therapies can help patients overcome their vulnerability to this condition. Call 888-280-476 to learn more about how we can help.


  1. Study Reveals Both Overlapping and Distinct Genes Associated with Heavy Drinking and Alcoholism
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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