As much as people think heredity is not a factor in alcohol abuse, hereditary alcoholism does exist in the sense that some people are genetically predisposed to abusing alcohol. It all starts in the brain. The simplest way to explain is that there is a substance in the brain called a “beta-endorphin” that has an analgesic effect on the body. The brain releases this endorphin in response to pain or other similar triggers. Some people have low levels of this endorphin from birth. When the brain experiences a surplus of beta-endorphins through the consumption of alcohol, it becomes dependent on the source. Therefore, those that have this low beta-endorphin level are predisposed to alcoholism. This is not to say this “predisposition” should be used as an excuse. As this blog often reiterates, it is important to know your personal risk factors to stay in-tune with your body and its limitations. So what does this mean? Not everyone with this predisposition will fall to alcoholism. For those that know they are more susceptible to the disease, it is vital for them to be proactive in prevention. They must be sure to limit alcohol intake and pay attention to their limits.
Do you struggle with low beta-endorphins?
(Research done with Medical News Today article, 2007, “Alcohol Abuse is Hereditary” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/75738.php)