Alcoholism Treatment Center Brookline MA

Alcoholism may appear after the first drink, many years of drinking, or after a period of binge drinking. If a person's culture is alcohol free, obviously the genetic influence will not cause alcoholism.

Healy, Christina
(617) 285-3214
1581 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA

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Elliott, Virginia
(617) 782-1347
1581 Beacon Street
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Medvedovsky-Khan, Elena
(617) 669-6059
124 Harvard Street
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Akins, Veronica
(617) 331-5939
124 Harvard Street
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(617) 738-7660 x2
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40 Webster Pl.
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(617) 566-4854
21 Gorham Avenue
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Miller, Shel
(617) 731-9174
82 Naples Road
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(617) 558-3233
1581 Beacon Street
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(617) 877-0071
129 Harvard St
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What Causes Alcoholism?

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What Causes Alcoholism?

Philip Sicks

Friday, September 14, 2007 What causes alcoholism? Alcoholism is a disease caused in part by genetics, in part by culture, and in part by personal choice.

Several twin studies have looked at the different alcoholism rate between twins using a group of identical twins and a group of fraternal twins. If alcoholism were only a behavior learned in the home, a set of identical twins should have the same rate of alcoholism as a set of fraternal twins. In fact, if one identical twin is an alcoholic the odds that the other will be also is higher than the odds for fraternal twins. Because identical twins have the same set of genes, and fraternal twins do not, there must be something in the genes themselves that increases the chances of becoming an alcoholic. (Crabbe, J.C., & Harris, R.A., eds. The Genetic Basis of Alcohol and Drug Actions. New York: Plenum Press, 1991.)

Culture also plays a part. Alcoholism may appear after the first drink, many years of drinking, or after a period of binge drinking. If a person's culture is alcohol free, obviously the genetic influence will not cause alcoholism. If the culture only approves of light drinking and occasional drinking, the rate of alcoholism will be lower than a culture that encourages alcohol use. (American Psychologist, 39, 1337-1351, 1984. Reprinted in W.R. Miller (Ed.), Alcoholism: Theory, research, and treatment, Lexington, MA: Gunn, 1985.)

Personal choice also plays a role. Som...

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