Is it Genetic or an Environmental Influence
Nature vs. Nurture
By: Ashley E. Wright
November 23, 2014
The argument of nature vs. nurture is a long-standing one in the psychological and social worlds. It is the argument about whether we are ruled by our genes or our upbringing. It is my opinion that neither is true. It is nature working with nurture which determines our personality and our lifestyle. Alcoholism can affect anyone; it is not prejudicial towards any race, color, sex, religion, or economic level. It has enormous costs as it pertains to societies, families, and individuals. Even though we have ideas as to what alcoholism is, what we do not know, is whether it is a genetic or environmental factor that plays a part in the problem. Researchers are continually seeking answers to the long-standing nature versus nurture debate. No one explanation seems to be better than another. In this paper I will present an insight to the factors that serve to fuel the nature or nurture debate concerning alcohol abuse and alcoholism. There are many different definitions of alcoholism but according to the American Medical Association it is defined as a “primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.” Alcoholism is characterized by prolonged periods of frequent heavy use, the inability to control drinking once started, a physical dependence manifested by withdrawal symptoms when not using alcohol, the need to use more and more alcohol to have the same effects, and a variety of social and/or legal problems arising from alcohol use. (medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary/alcoholism) People who develop an alcoholism issue must choose to drink repeatedly. Having one little sip doesn’t mean you are an alcoholic. Loving the way the alcohol moves in the body, on the other hand, could make an alcoholism problem more likely, as someone who likes the drug is more likely to drink it again. Some researchers believe that the likeability of alcohol is determined by genetic data. For example, research highlighted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that people of Asian descent have a specific type of gene that makes the experience of alcohol unpleasant. For people with this gene, drinking alcohol means feeling flush and faint, and perhaps slightly nauseated. People like this may not develop alcoholism, because they don’t drink a significant amount. But on the other hand other research published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that some people have a gene variant that allows signals of pleasure to move quickly from one portion of the brain to the other, when alcohol is in play. People like this are more vulnerable to the behavioral changes alcohol can bring, so one little sip causes a big shift in the way they feel and the manner in which they act. Intense changes spurred by a substance are typically associated with an increased risk of addiction, as the brain tends to take note of the cause and effect, and ask for more drugs in return. Someone with this kind of gene might move from social drinking to solo binge drinking in no time at all, mainly because of the genes involved. (Alcoholism Nature vs. Nurture | Dual Diagnosis) While children may very well inherit genes from their parents that put them at risk for an alcohol addiction issue, they might also pick up habits regarding alcohol from their parents, and these habits could allow an addiction to spring to life. For example, children might watch their parents drink a cocktail each night, and they might even be taught to fetch their parents a drink when asked to do so. These children might grow into adults who also drink nightly, and they might develop consumption patterns that are similar to those seen by their parents. The genes might be passed down, but even adopted children might be at risk of developing mimicking...
Bibliography: Alcoholism Nature vs. Nurture | Dual Diagnosis. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2014, from Dual Diagnosis: http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/alcohol-addiction/nature-vs-nurture/
medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary/alcoholism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2014, from TheFreeDictionary.com: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/alcoholism
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