The Genetic Basis of Determining Alcoholism Essay

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The Genetic Basis of Determining Alcoholism

The focus of this paper is alcoholism. The aspects that will be examined in the following pages are the biology of alcoholism, and the genetic basis determining that alcoholism is a hereditary disease. Clarification of the phases of alcoholism as well as possible explanations of the nature of the disease will be offered. Examination of studies concerning biological markers associated with alcoholism and advanced animal testing will allow further understanding of alcoholism and related problems.
With these biological components established, it is important to further explore a study of alcoholism in different ethnic groups, countries and cultures and as it relates to gender. The
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The next phase is physical dependence, it is characterized by withdrawal, craving, and tremors and often a complete inability to control or curb drinking (Kissin, 1972). One postulation by researchers and theorists is that there is a distinct psychopathology associated with alcoholism that allows an otherwise non-functional individual to feel secure enough to participate in society. Partanen et. al. (1966) found correlation between emotional instability and the likelihood of developing alcohol abuse problems. Another theory suggests that alcoholism is a conflict between dependence and interdependence. This idea continues along the same lines submitting that one of the possible reasons for a lower incidence of alcoholism among females is an acceptance of dependency on their part due to societal conditioning (Kissen and Barry, 1972).

The Heredity of Alcoholism
Children of alcoholic parents have been found to be 3 to 5 times more likely to themselves become alcoholics (Steen, 1996). This number is influenced by many factors independent of heredity, however the genetic basis for alcoholism is widely believed and studied in hopes of finding a concrete example to better understand and treat the disease. It has been estimated that genetics account for 50- 60 % of the risk for alcoholism (Roebuck and Kessler, 1972).

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