Substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, is most common. Often, teenagers give in to peer pressure to take the first sip of alcohol but soon after getting acquitted with the taste, they find it hard to get rid of the addiction they develop.

Contributing greatly towards fatal accidents and chronic liver problems, alcoholism has emerged as a serious public health problem over the years. While experts have studied various socioeconomic factors and life stressors to find the primary causes that lead to alcoholism, no single universal reason defining the need to drink has been put forward.

Family history of substance abuse, failures in life, hostility of relationships, low income, reduced opportunities to better health, education and quality of life do increase a person’s risk to become an alcohol addict. But an exciting study from University of Indiana and Purdue University suggests that your genes might be responsible in making you prone to addiction.

Now if your parents blame your friends for your habit of drinking, you might have an argument to protect your friends. Oh, the research might cause parent-child quarrelling in many households where the child may tell his dad: “Dad, the genes you gave me are at fault, I am innocent, my drinking habit is not in my control”.

Talking of the research, genomes of rodents were manipulated to breed high-alcohol-drinking rat lines which were compared with low-alcohol-drinking lines. A striking contrast was found between the experiment and control groups. In the experiment group, the rodents mimicked alcoholism of humans and as many as 920 genes were associated with alcohol preference. While the genetic makeup and genetic associations found in rodents may not be identical to that of humans but a strong link certainly is present.

Involved in the regulation of various complex pathways, the influence of genes on a person’s alcoholism can provide a gateway to pharmacological solutions to the problem.