Can alcoholism be inherited?

For many people struggling with alcoholism, the path to their addiction has most likely been a complicated and complex journey filled with social influences, biological factors and familial components.

Who is to say which is more influential, the atmosphere in which you are raised or the genetic traits you inherit?

The influencing factors impacting a person’s life and subsequent personal choices can both inspire them to achieve greatness and drive them into the darkness of a life-threatening addiction to alcohol or another illicit substance.

Understanding how those innate biological forces and learning environments influenced your current level of addiction is imperative to overcoming alcoholism and beginning your trek toward sustained sobriety and a happier state of being.

Quick Facts and Stats About the Disease of Alcoholism

Alcoholism has been shown to function much like a complex genetic disorder, such as cancer or diabetes. This is to say, the symptomatology and genetic influencers associated with the development of an alcohol use disorder are fundamentally rooted in both biological factors and environmental accelerators.

This is why alcoholism is so prevalent within our society and the third leading cause of preventable death within the United States.

Other facts concerning this crippling disease include:

  • Over 15 million adults report dealing with an alcohol use disorder, including roughly 10 million men and roughly 5.5 million women.
  • Approximately 88,000 people die from an alcohol-related cause annually.
  • In a recent study, alcohol abuse and alcoholism was found to cost the United States nearly $250 billion dollars annually.
  • More than 10% of children within the United States live with a parent who is struggling with an alcohol addiction.
  • Research has indicated that alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal brain development and increase the likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.
  • Nearly 2,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related, unintentional injuries, including car crashes while under the influence.
  • Roughly 20% of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.

These facts indicate the depth and significance of alcoholism impacting various demographics within our society.

From adolescence to adulthood, alcohol use and abuse has shown to have longstanding and detrimental consequences throughout a wide variety of individuals, affecting the manner in which they conduct themselves and even resulting in a large number of deaths.1

Can Alcoholism be Hereditary or Learned?

For decades now, studies have been conducted with the sole purpose of identifying if alcoholism can be definitively tied to hereditary traits. Research dating back to the 70’s and 80’s indicated that 50% of all alcoholics had a biological tie to their disease.2

More recent studies have shown that genetic predispositions to addiction can be passed down to subsequent generations, similar to other physical diseases.3

So whichever decadal perspective you approach the topic from, the mounting evidence indicates that alcoholism has a definite genetic component to being both inherited and being developed.

However, this is not to diminish the impact that an environment can have on an individual’s personality development and tendency toward addictive patterns and habits.

Environmental Factors that can Contribute to Alcoholism

Growing up in a household where alcohol and drug use are prevalent can directly influence how a person views all manners of alcoholism or substance abuse, normalizing the behaviors and encouraging excessive experimentation.4

Additionally, if someone is exposed to traumatic events or physical harm throughout their upbringing, they may become more drawn to self-medicating, increasing their potential for excessive alcohol consumption and potential alcoholism or a similar alcohol use disorder.

Whether you align with the perspective of nature or nurture in regard to the disease of alcoholism, everyone can agree that the manner in which an alcohol use disorder destroys a person’s overall physical and mental health is universally devastating.

That is why understanding how the disorder originates is important, but addressing the disease in a clinically appropriate treatment environment is necessary to successfully overcoming the disorder and achieving sustained sobriety.

What to Do If You’re Worried About Hereditary Alcoholism

Whether alcoholism is rooted in biologic factors or environmental influences, the disease of addiction is a viable condition requiring clinical guidance and interventions in order to effectively address the disorder.

If you have found yourself struggling with excessive alcohol use or alcoholism and are ready to begin your recovery journey, identifying a qualified treatment facility is the next step to take.

Receiving a thorough diagnostic assessment can aid in identifying where your alcoholism originated and the best clinical approach to implement throughout your rehabilitative process.

Admitting that a problem actually exists is an amazing accomplishment, but initiating your recovery journey is the only way to truly address you alcohol addiction and begin repairing the physical and emotional toll your addiction has had on your life.

Life-Changing, Holistic Alcoholism Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Regardless of whether you abuse alcohol more than you know you should or you’re contending with a full-blown alcohol addiction, you must know that your alcohol use and addiction can stop for good and you can get your entire life back on track. And no matter if you or your loved one believes that alcoholism is hereditary or learned, we are here to help you recover.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, our main priority is your precise withdrawal and treatment needs. Our mission is to help you successfully recover and re-enter society sober.

At our non-12 step rehab and holistic recovery center, our alcohol abuse treatment program delivers all-encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential therapies, and preparation to forge the drug free future you desire.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our alcohol abuse treatment program and dedication to individualized care.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607


1 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Accessed February 28, 2019.

2 Chicago Tribune. Yes, Alcoholism Is hereditary, But There Are Ways to Fight It. Accessed February 28, 2019.

3 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Collaborative Studies on Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) Study. Accessed February 28, 2019.

4 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Evaluating the Alcohol Environment: Community Geography and Alcohol Problems. Accessed February 28, 2019.