Genetic Considerations

Susceptibility to alcohol abuse appears to run in families and is the subject of vigorous ongoing investigations to locate genes that contribute. It is probable that the effects of multiple genes and environment are involved in alcoholism. Twin studies have shown a stronger concordance between identical than between nonidentical twins (55% or greater concordance for monozygotic twins and 28% for same sex dizygotic twins). Genetic differences in alcohol metabolism may result in higher levels of a metabolite that produces pleasure for those with a predisposition toward alcohol abuse.

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