Is this the Alcoholic Gene?
A study published on August 18, 2014 in Biological Psychiatry identified a gene that regulates excessive drinking and alcohol dependence.The gene, neurofibromatosis type 1 or Nf1 effects an amino acid GABA that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, calming nervous activity. The researchers also found that a genetic variation of NF1 may cause a susceptibility to the transition from non-dependent to dependent drinking.
It has long been known that alcoholism seems to run in families and this study shows that it may be possible to identify genetic variations that predispose one to alcohol dependency. Having this knowledge could very well empower people to make intelligent decisions with regard to their use of alcohol.
In the 1930’s Doctor William Silkworth of Big Book fame understood that there must be a physiological difference in alcoholics that caused them to react differently to alcohol than other people. He termed it an “allergy” because of the unique affect alcohol had on these people. As it turns out, he may not have been too far off. There does appear to be evidence of a genetic predisposition to alcohol dependency.
Melanie Haiken wrote a very interesting article about this study in Forbes magazine that we highly recommend.