It’s long been known that genetics can contribute to alcoholism. A group of Indiana scientists is involved in a global study on the connection and is one of the largest to look at the genes associated with risk.
This is the first big study from the global Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. And Indiana University School of Medicine Professor Howard Edenberg says it focused on a genetic variant related to how people process alcohol.
"It turns out that by converting it a little bit faster that you tend to be protected against heavy drinking or alcoholism – two different things that are related," Edenberg says.
The study also found that genetic susceptibility to alcoholism is related to other psychiatric disorders like depression and addiction.
"We also found that if you take a look at the overall pattern of these genetic variants, literally taking hundreds of thousands into consideration at once, there is some overlap in risk with some psychiatric disorders," says Edenberg.
This research involved more than 50,000 people from around the world, and Edenberg says even larger studies are needed.