Alcohol abuse is a better indicator than dependence for hereditary risk, according to study

Looking at more than 1,100 twins, researchers found a greater genetic connection for the development of alcohol abuse than alcohol dependence.

Looking at more than 1,100 twins who met criteria for lifelong alcohol use disorders, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine found a greater genetic connection for the development of alcohol abuse than alcohol dependence.

The National Centers for Biotechnology Information defines alcohol abuse as any drinking habit that causes problems, as opposed to full-blown physical dependence. The organization considers 15 drinks a week or more for men, and 12 drinks a week for women as problematic levels of alcohol consumption. Apart from heredity, other risk factors for developing an alcohol disorder include low self-esteem, stress, relationship problems and depression. Individuals with depression could buy Paxil or buy Effexor from Canadian and international online pharmacies, as potentially healthier methods of treating their emotional problems.

"It was assumed the alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence represent distinct syndromes. Since then, results have accumulated to suggest that these two categories are very highly correlated," said Kenneth S. Kendler, the study co-author and a professor of psychiatry at the Virginia University School of Medicine.

"Symptoms of alcohol abuse do a better job of reflecting the familial risk for alcohol use disorders than symptoms of dependence. This is not what we expected. Clearly the symptoms of alcohol abuse may have more validity than they are commonly given credit for," he added.

The study can be found in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 

The scientists also discovered that the greatest indicator that an alcohol abuser may pass their habits down to the next generation was if he or she had experienced legal problems related to their heavy drinking.