However, LeMarquand etal, (1999), argue that there is a clear genetic component for alcoholism or at least a predisposition towards alcoholism in some people - although they too emphasize that this genetic predisposition is only one of a number of determining factors that push an individual towards becoming an alcoholic.
A substantial proportion of the vulnerability to alcoholism is believed to be genetically mediated, particularly in early-onset, male-limited, type-2 alcoholism. Human and primate studies suggest a significant genetic component in 5-HT-related measures. Additionally, mice with genetic alterations affecting serotonergic neurotransmission show increased aggression and alcohol intake. Environmental factors may also be important. Early stressors lead to greater developmental declines in CSF 5-HIAA in monkeys than in unstressed animals. The extent to which low 5-HT function contributes to the genetic risk for alcoholism remains to be determined (LeMarquand etal., 1999).
Mehrabian (2001) as well as a number of other researchers have found that alcoholism is far more likely to occur in individuals that have key psychological "comorbidities" or accompanying conditions such as depression: "Review of the relevant literature indicates a substantial positive relation between depression and alcohol abuse or dependence."
It should be noted that there is a discrepancy between researchers' view of the genetic component of alcoholism and that of those who treat the condition (which is usually now referred to as a disease). The following statement represents the beliefs of what might be called the "recovery community":
Alcoholism is nothing to be shamed of because it is genetic. Forty percent of alcoholism is caused by genetic factors and sixty percent by factors we don't understand. If we take identical twins and split them at birth and raise one in Wyoming and one in Ethiopia, if one twin becomes an alcoholic, there is a...
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