Alcoholism Research

Alcoholism Research

Alcoholism research is showing that transmission of alcoholism addiction risk is at least partially controlled by genetics. Currently, science is attempting to identify how the environment impacts the genetic material to manifest the disease and which gene (or set of genes) comes into play.

Once this is discovered it will open up a whole new world of treatment for those suffering from alcoholism addiction. Research is promising. Alcoholism as a disease is much better understood today than it was two decades ago.

Alcoholism research is making use of the work of the inheritance of DNA. When the genetic information becomes clearer the information will help identify those who might be at risk for developing the disease. It will open the doors for new pharmacological advances to help treat alcoholism with medications. New advances in behavioral modification will allow for new psychological therapies to be developed to complement these modes of treatment.

The work that is currently being done in alcoholism research in regards to DNA testing is exciting. It may hold the key to the future development of ways to prevent people from falling victim to alcoholism addiction.

When it comes to treating alcoholism, research dictates that a “one size fits all” approach may not work. New research is identifying alcohol subtypes. These are based on family history, patterns of dependence; age when a person started drinking as well as mental disorders.

The researchers were able to identify the following alcoholic subtypes:

Young Adult Subtype

These drinkers are young adults. They have low instances of coexistent substance abuse issues. They rarely ask for help with their drinking and may not have family members with the disease.

Young Antisocial Subtype

Over half come from families with alcohol problems. They may have a diagnosis of a psychiatric ailment such a depression or bi-polar disorder. Typically, dysfunctional drinking begins when the person is in their mid-twenties. More than a third of the people in this subtype will seek help.

Functional Subtype

These tend to be well educated and are usually middle aged. About one-third have a family history of alcoholism. They are mostly stable with regards to job and families. Depression is common. Half are smokers.

Intermediate Familial Subtype

The people in this subtype are usually middle aged. About half come from families with prevalent multi-generational alcoholism. Depression and bi-polar are common. Most have smoked cigarettes and may have used cocaine or marijuana. Only one-fourth sought help.

Chronic Severe Subtype

Most are middle aged. Early onset dysfunctional drinking is one of the common predictors. Many have anti-social personality disorder and criminal tendencies. Multi-generational alcoholism was present in almost 80% of the alcoholics in this subtype. They exhibit high rates of psychiatric disorders. The disorders include depression, bi-polar and anxiety. Two-thirds will ask for help. This is the most prevalent alcoholic subtype in treatment today.


The future is brighter than the past. Alcoholism research to help the alcoholics who make up the various subtypes is promising.

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