Have you ever asked yourself if addictions are a choice or if there is not a choice at all? For many people, this question hits too close to home. Alcohol addiction has caused many families to separate, millions of domestic violence cases, and children to be ripped from their homes. With all of the horrible consequences, it would be all too easy for us to accept that it really boils down to family history so that we don't have to face the fact that these people don't want to be with us. So is alcohol addiction a choice or is it genetic?
The Case for Genetics
People can be predisposed to having an alcohol addiction. It is important to understand that predisposition does not mean anything other than you are more likely to like alcohol to the point that it can become an addiction. Children of addicts are around eight times more likely to become addicted but, that can be for any number of reasons. This could be due to the fact that they are raised around it and it could be seen as an acceptable way to socialize.
Many people use genetics as a way to excuse themselves of their behavior. They blame their parents for their own problems. But how much of their alcohol addiction is their own choice?
Alcoholism is Choice?
Many people may not want to deal with the reality that they are the reason that they are addicts. When our ancestors needed to learn what to eat, they learned by trial and error. If their bodies consumed something that did not kill it, it would become addictive to ensure that we went back to eat the berries at a certain spot because the rest were poisoned. So, if the choice is made to go out and repeatedly drink alcohol, we run the risk of becoming addicted.
Genetic predisposition could play a role in how quickly this can happen. There are many people who have complete control for their entire lives and some that become completely obsessed with it. Could people who have several generations be predisposed to the point that one drink and they are hooked? Many people argue that the person who suffers from an addiction has complete control and the ability to stop.
What Role Does Environmental Factors During Childhood?
We now understand that many of the things that happen during childhood have a lasting effect throughout the child's life. For many children of troubled households, that relief was found when they turned the magical number and were able to legally drink. Since it is legal, it is easy to get and the easier people have to alcohol, the more they drink it. Alcohol is well-known to be a misguided coping mechanism which is why it is so common for people who drink after breaking up with a partner or losing a close family member. The real question that still remains is at what point does it become a choice?