Topic 4 Genetics

Regardless of what parents may teach their children about alcohol, some genetic factors are present from birth and cannot be changed. Genes appear to influence the development of drinking behaviours in several ways. Some people, particularly those of Asian ancestry, have a natural and unpleasant response to alcohol that helps prevent them from drinking too much. Other people have a naturally high tolerance to alcohol, meaning that to feel alcohol’s effects, they must drink more than others. Some personality traits are genetic, and those, like impulsivity, can put a person at risk for alcohol misuse. Psychiatric problems may be caused by genetic traits, and such problems can increase risk for alcohol use disorder. Finally, having a parent with a drinking problem increases a child’s risk for developing an alcohol problem of his or her own.