Scientists have long known that people who have a close relative with alcohol problems themselves run an increased risk of starting to abuse alcohol. The reason for this has not been known, but a new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, provides part of the answer. The study shows that people who have a close relative who is an alcoholic react more positively to alcohol than other people.
The study has been published in the scientific journal Alcohol: Clinical & Experimental Research, and is the first to have investigated a large group of people who have a close relative with type I alcoholism. Previous research in the field has been based on a more limited population, such as sons of alcoholic fathers.
There are two types of alcoholism, type I and type II. Type I alcohol abuse depends to a large extent on the interaction of genetic factors with the environment, such as social environment and life events, while type II alcohol abuse involves a large genetic risk of developing alcohol addiction, independent of environment.
"The study is unique in the way in which we have studied how children of type I alcoholics experience the effects of alcohol and compared this with the experiences of the control group, which consisted of people who had no history of alcohol abuse in the family. The group of people who were children of type I alcoholics were healthy and had no mental health problems, and they did not have alcohol problems themselves", says Anna Sderpalm-Gordh, scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
The scientists gave moderate amounts of either alcohol or placebo in the form of juice to a group of 51 participants, 34 men and 17 women. The drink that any participant received was determined at random. Twenty-nine of the participants were members of the control group, while 22 were members of the group for whom a member of the family had type I alcoholism. Members of both groups then described how they experienced
|Contact: Anna Sderpalm-Gordh|
University of Gothenburg