Imagine yourself being 11 years old. You and your next-door neighbor just finished eating dinner, and now playing cards in front of the television. A few hours pass and your mother tells you that its bedtime. After being asleep for a couple of hours, you hear your father come inside your house.
This was not unusual; he always comes home late at night. You hear your parents yell at each other and then you hear an awful sound. Did your father just hit your mother only because his dinner was cold, and he was late? You ask yourself why, why is he like this? He is like this because he is an alcoholic and cannot control his temper when he has been drinking. The next day you promise your mom and yourself that when you grow up you were never going to become an alcoholic. You see what your father's alcoholism has done to your family and yourself and would never want that to happen to your family when you become an adult. Twenty years later, you too become an alcoholic.
Children of alcoholics are four times more likely to grow up to be an alcoholic than any other children, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (NCADI: Fact is Alcoholism Runs in Families) One in five adult Americans lived with an alcoholic while growing up. (A ACAP) Studies have shown that even twins separated at birth and living in two very different environments still became alcoholics. There were an estimated 28. 6 million Children of Alcoholics (COAs) in the United States in 1991, nearly 11 million of them under the age of 18.
Of the under 18-age group, there will be almost 3 million that will develop alcoholism and other drug problems. More than half of these teens will marry alcoholics and are likely to recreate the same kinds of highly stressful and unhealthy families in which they grew up. (NCADI) I am not saying that alcoholism is hereditary. It can and does skip some generations. What I am trying to say is that it definitely has genetic factors.
Although, you become an alcoholic does not mean that your sister will become an alcoholic too. She might not have inherited that particular gene. If your mother was a good math student in high school, it does not mean that you will be good in math also. In the Webster's Dictionary it defines genetic as "Of or pertaining to the origin or development of something; of our relating genetics." Gene is stated in the Webster's Dictionary as " A functional unit on a chromosome, responsible for the transmission of hereditary characteristics.
The difference in genetics and hereditary is, hereditary is a passing or transmitted from an ancestor to a legal heir transmitted or transmissible by genetic inheritance. But we ask is alcoholism really genetic, well there is a lot of things that run in families: diabetes, musical talent, the ability to learn well, voting republican, and the list can go on and on. However, this does not mean that they are genetic. Voting republican is not genetic; it only has an environmental effect on you.
One cannot genetically inherit the ability to vote republican. In some cases, the gene skips a generation or is not inherited. This means that even though one's father or mother is an alcoholic it does not mean that the child will be an alcoholic. This only happens in the remaining 17. 6 million of Americans that have a parent / parents that are alcoholics. My father was and is still and alcoholic and I have no desire to become an alcoholic.
This does not mean that in the future, my genes will kick in and I also become an alcoholic, it is very unlikely though. What is Alcoholism? A tree is known by its fruit, as to where alcoholism is known by its problems. A person can drink a gallon of whiskey a day for a lifetime, not have any problems, and not be an alcoholic. (Goodwin, pg 23) A person also can love the succulent taste of a chocolate donut, and not be overweight. There is an enormous amount of Americans that have the problem of alcoholism, some go untreated and other seek help, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that helps willing alcoholics deal with their problem and try to help them stop drinking.
Studies have shown that the most problems of Alcoholism have come from white males between the ages of 35 to 45 years of age. Think about it when and if you go into a bar the only people you may see getting hauled away in a cab from being to drunk to drive home is a white man. It seems to me that black men have their heads on straighter that white men. You rarely see a black man or black women in a bar. In my own opinion, alcoholism can be defeated.
One can control the urge to drink, even the amount they consume. It all depends on how you might have been taught. Some children are not taught that drinking is wrong or should be used in moderation. They grow up seeing their parents drink and are not told that it is bad. That is one more reason why there are so many young adults drinking. Not only does genetics play a role in this so-called disease but also the factor of how much or how little it is taught to us.
Animal studies have shown that some strain of mice, given sugar and alcohol solutions drinks more alcohol than other strains do. They do not drink enough to become intoxicated they only drink enough for the calories in the alcohol. Whatever the reason, this preference of alcohol is probably based in genetic differences and sometimes is cited as evidence that alcoholism in humans is a genetic disorder. (Goodwin, pg 62) (Health Ato. com) "Alcoholic consumption is influenced by combination of environmental and genetic factors," said Gene Erwin, PhD, professor of pharmaceutics sciences at the CU School of Pharmacy. If alcoholism can be traced to a particular gene or combination of genes, how can the information be used? These genes are for risk, not for destiny, a child of an alcoholic's parent may not automatically develop alcoholism.
A person with no family history of alcoholism can become alcohol dependent. As Abraham Lincoln addressed before the Springfield, Illinois Washington Temperance Society, " In my judgment such of us as have never fallen victim have been spared more by the absence of appetite than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have. Indeed, I believe if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with these of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice - the demon of intolerance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity." (Hays, John) In conclusion, even though alcoholism may run in ones family it does not mean that one will want or will be an alcoholic. Though my experience with alcoholism I have learned that it does have genetic factors and is not hereditary, one cannot pass being an alcoholic down from generation to generation, only a person that has inherited that gene will become an alcoholic. Not everyone in ones family will inherit this gene.
If one is lucky, one will not. It does not matter if you are black, white, Hispanic male or female, alcoholism does not know the racial background of a person. No one every hopes or wishes when they are young to grow up and be an Alcoholic, it just depends if you inherited that particular gene or not.