I am engaged to marry a man whose father bother are problem drinkers. My fiance does not drink at all, but I’m worries about out children. Is alcoholism genetic?
A. There is no question that alcoholism is often clustered in families, both social and genetic factors figure the cause of this devastating disease. I to be honest with you: The fact that two immediate relatives of your fiance are problem drinkers is a concern. Even if he himself does not drink, you children may inherit a tendency to develop the disease. I am not going to advise you not to marry the man you love; however, you should go into this marriage knowledgeable about the potential pitfalls, and more important, you should take the necessary steps to avoid them.
I strongly advise you and your future husband to get some professional counseling about alcoholism so that you are both aware of the risks. Since you know that your children stand a chance of inheriting a predisposition for alcoholism, it is imperative for them to be counseled about their susceptibility, on the basis of genetics, to alcoholism. In this situation, force warmed is forearmed.
Here are some other facts you should know:
- The two major risk factors for alcoholism are make sex with a family history of alcoholism
- More alcoholism are men: they have a lifetime risk of a 3 – 5 percent change of becoming dependent on alcohol compared with women , in whom there is a 1 percent lifetime risk.
- When male sex and a positive family history both exist, the risk is highest, 25 percent of the sons of alcoholic fathers become alcoholics themselves.
These things “cluster” ( the likelihood of coexisting and related characteristics): male gender, early onset of problem drinking, familial alcoholism, a serious dependence on alcohol, a more rapidly deteriorating course, and a greater likelihood of alcohol-related problems (like criminal behavior).
Dr. Marianne Legato, Professor Emerita of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University is an internationally known academic physician, author, lecturer, and specialist in gender-specific medicine. She is founding member of the International Society for Gender Medicine and also the founder and director of The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University and its next iteration, The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine. These enterprises are the first collaborations between academic medicine and the private sector focused solely on gender-specific medicine: the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and of how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender and sex. Her ground breaking textbook on Gender-and Sex Specific Medicine has been published in 2017 in the 3rd edition.
She has published extensively on Gender and Sex Specific Medicine, both scientifically and for the lay public. She is also the founding editor of the journal Gender Medicine, and the Journal Gender and Genome, published for the scientific community. In 1992, Dr. Legato won the American Heart Association’s Blakeslee Award for the best book written for the lay public on cardiovascular disease. She is a practicing internist in New York City and has been listed each year in New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” since the feature’s inception in 1993.