Millions of people in America live with families that have at least a parent, grandparent or a close relative with an alcohol problem. Studies have shown that children of alcoholics have a higher probability of developing an alcohol problem later in life than the general population. Though many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to develop alcoholism, the role of genes in determining future alcohol problems in certain individuals cannot be denied.
A recent study by the Royal Society of Alcoholism revealed a link between higher levels of impulsivity and the risk of developing alcohol addiction. A premature response behavior, known as waiting impulsivity, is a type of motor impulsivity associated with compulsive drug-seeking behavior. Thus, an increased vulnerability to alcoholism in the youth, living with alcoholic parents or relatives, can be attributed to their impulsive behavior.
As part of the study, the researchers enrolled 34 women and 30 men aged 18 to 33, who were social drinkers and had either positive or negative family history of alcoholism. The participants were divided into two groups with 24 young people having a first-degree relative with an alcohol addiction problem and 40 adolescents without a family history of alcoholism and were given doses of alcohol. Each participant was required to perform the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time task, which helped the researchers assess their impulsivity levels.
The participants were also analyzed on other parameters of impulsivity through certain tools, such as the Stop Signal Reaction Time, Information Sampling Task, Delay Discounting Questionnaire, Two-Choice Impulsivity Paradigm and Time Estimation.
For the participants who had family members with alcohol problem, waiting impulsivity levels were quite high, compared to those with negative family history of alcohol abuse. However, on the Stop Signal Reaction Time test, all the participants demonstrated inhibitory control due to alcohol-induced impairments.
Thus, the study established the fact that children of alcoholics who are at a higher risk of developing compulsive drug seeking-behavior can be identified by assessing their increased waiting impulsivity levels. The study can be helpful in identifying at-risk people with a predisposition to drinking and in finding suitable remedial measures to prevent alcohol addiction.
Alcohol is a highly destructive addictive substance that effects every individual directly or indirectly. With more than 23 million people above 12 years of age reeling from addiction to alcohol and other illegal drugs, America is fighting a tough battle that has engulfed the happiness of innumerable alcoholics and their families. Alcoholism not only results in serious health issues but also puts the reputation and freedom of an alcoholic at stake. People with a family history of alcoholism are four times more susceptible to develop alcohol addiction, however, factors such as peer pressure, environment, availability, etc., also play a major role in determining a person’s addictive behavior.
But it must be remembered that a family history of addiction or growing up in a troubled family does not always imply that a person will become an alcoholic.
The failure to educate Americans about the detrimental effects of alcoholism can be attributed mostly to the predominance of drinking culture among them. The federal and state governments have been making relentless efforts to inform people about possible short-term and long-term impact of alcohol addiction.
If you or your loved one is addicted to any kind of substance, get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for information on the best alcohol addiction rehab centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online to seek expert advice about various treatment centers for alcohol addiction.