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Alcoholism and Genetics Is Your Parent Responsible for Your Drinking Has heavy drinking affected your family If it has you are not alone Almost half of all adults in the United States 43 have been directly affected by alcoholism or have a parent sibling child or spouse affected by alcoholism Over 76 million people in this country are directly or indirectly affected by alcoholism according to the National Center for Health Statistics Alcoholism a pervasive public health problem whose cost is estimated at more than 150 million annually has a strong tendency to run in families Although it is common throughout the general public brothers or sisters of an alcoholic are at three to eight times greater risk of alcoholism than a person who has no family history of the condition The identical twin of an alcoholic has about sixty percent chance of also becoming an alcoholic However not everyone from a high-risk family develops alcoholism Even in high-density alcoholic families not all children come out to be alcoholics said Henri Begleiter thirty to forty percent of these kids will end up developing the diseaseqtd in Okie 3 It is important we do genetic research on alcohol and genetics for three reasons First it leads to identification of people at risk and could help inform people so they could act to avoid developing alcohol related problems Secondly it may help us to understand the environmental factors that play a part in developing alcoholism Third it may lead to new understanding and treatment that can help alcoholics to relieve their problems There is no definite cause of alcoholism however several factors may play a role in its
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