Study Finds Gene Variant with Possible Link to Alcoholism

How Our Genes Can Give Insights On Addiction

Science may not have a cure for alcoholism yet, but it is getting closer. As the rate of addiction to drugs and alcohol rises, we can hope the amount of research keeps pace.  With national attention growing on the epidemic of addiction, there is hope for scientific advancement. The following study is a promising one, and gives us more insight into the role our genes play in addiction for ourselves and our family.

Funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco have been studying a gene variant that reduces a protein in the brains of mice. This reduction of protein causes the mice to consume excessive amounts of alcohol despite negative or painful consequences. Interestingly, mice with this gene variant consumed more alcohol than those without the gene. In an attempt to detour the mice, researchers spiked the alcohol with bitterly-tasting quinine, yet, they continued to consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

Another interesting finding is that the genetic mutation only affected alcohol consumption—not other fluids, anxiety levels, or any other compulsive behavior. In humans, researchers have linked the genetic variant to mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia; the common belief is that these findings and more research may be used to pinpoint a predisposition to alcoholism in our youth. If this comes to fruition, we may be one step closer to the prevention and treatment of addiction.

Getting Closer to Results

One step closer may be closer than we think. In the same study, researchers increased the levels of the depleted protein in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which spurns compulsiveness and addiction. The result: the mice returned to moderate drinking. Additionally, researchers administered a drug that also stopped the compulsive drinking behaviors.

These findings could drastically change the way we prevent, approach, and treat addiction in the future. The more we begin to understand what contributes to alcoholism, e.g, genetics, environment, relationships, etc., the more prepared we are to handle the effects of addiction on families and our communities.




If you are struggling with addiction, call The Lakehouse Recovery Center. You are not alone in this. We will help you begin your journey in sobriety, and you will leave here with the tools you need to succeed. Give us a call, we are available 24/7, toll-free at (877) 762-3707. You can do this. Your life can change because you can recover. Call now.


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