As addiction experts, we have long believed that one's genetics can greatly influence the risk of alcohol abuse and addiction. New research further bolsters that assertion, going so far as to uncover a connection between gene variants and the severity of hangovers. According to a study led by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, when two people consume the same amount of liquor, one may develop a bad hangover while the other doesn't — at least partly because of differences in their genes.
The more that medical professionals understand about how genetics influence addiction, the better. Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center on the belief that substance abuse is almost always caused by underlying, undiagnosed issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, which often also have a strong genetic component. Unfortunately, many addiction treatment centers do not address these mental, psychological and/or emotional challenges with their patients, preferring to focus solely on their physical dependencies. Sadly, this results in many failed recoveries. Addiction sufferers then become discouraged, blaming themselves and believing they are incapable of change. However, in these cases the fault lies not with them, but in inadequate treatment.
In contrast, Fairwinds' unique dual diagnosis methodology takes a more holistic approach, considering inner and outer health as well as any self-destructive tendencies to which the patient may be genetically predisposed. We give each addiction sufferer in our care a personalized combination of clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to promote comprehensive healing, an approach that has met with exceptional success and continues to be supported by the latest scientific research.
A recent study surveyed 4,000 middle-aged twins, asking them about their past alcohol consumption and subsequent hangovers. Identical twins demonstrated markedly similar experiences when it came to both hangover frequency and severity, suggesting that both outcomes were influenced by their genes. Other likely factors include whether subjects ate while drinking, how quickly they drank and how often they typically consume alcohol.
Research leader, Wendy Slutske, tells LiveScience that a person who is genetically less susceptible to hangovers may also be more likely to become an alcoholic. In other words, if you are unlikely to experience a hangover after heavy drinking, you may be more inclined to consume a great deal of alcohol on a regular basis. On the other hand, a strong susceptibility to hangovers may regulate your consumption by discouraging frequent drinking.
"We have demonstrated that susceptibility to hangovers has a genetic underpinning. This may be another clue to the genetics of alcoholism," Slutske, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, tells the source. "With drinking alcohol, it is not 'one size fits all.' People are different in their ability to consume alcohol without experiencing adverse consequences."
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, know that recovery is possible. While taking responsibility and holding yourself accountable for your own actions is an important part of the healing process, you should also know that certain genetic tendencies and underlying mental health issues may have made you particularly vulnerable to substance abuse and dependency. Under the right care, you can restore your psychological, emotional and physical health, putting you firmly on the path toward a better tomorrow.
Contact the world-renowned Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, today to learn more about Dr. El-Yousef's cutting-edge dual diagnosis methodology. There is no better place to start your journey toward a lasting recovery.