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Familial Risk of Alcoholism Tied to Drinking More Under Stress

Familial Risk of Alcoholism Tied to Drinking More Under StressA new study finds that a family problem with alcohol can increase the risk that an individual will turn to alcohol when confronted with stress.

Specifically, Swedish researchers discovered children of a parent with an alcohol problem are apt to consume more alcohol after stressful situations.

Researchers have known that alcoholics’ children are 50 percent more likely to have a drinking problem in the future. This new research shows how stress makes it even more difficult for individuals with a genetic risk for alcoholism.

The study has been published in the most recent issue of the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior.

Researchers divided 58 healthy people into two groups based on whether they came from a family with a history of alcoholism. Both groups were randomly assigned to two experimental situations, one of which was more stressful and involved solving mathematical problems under timed conditions in public.

The two groups were subsequently allowed to drink alcohol in an experimental consumption test or a placebo, depending on which situation they had been randomly assigned.

“The results show that people with parents who have a history of alcohol abuse drink more than others when exposed to stress,” said lead researcher Anna Söderpalm Gordh, Ph.D.

This behavior can have negative consequences in the long term, as the volume or quantity of alcohol consumed is associated with a higher risk of developing a dependency in the future.

“If alcohol relaxes you when you’re stressed, then you should try to find other ways of calming yourself down — relaxation exercises, for example,” said Söderpalm Gordh. This advice is especially pertinent for individuals who have alcoholism in their family.

Source: University of Gothenburg

Familial Risk of Alcoholism Tied to Drinking More Under Stress

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Familial Risk of Alcoholism Tied to Drinking More Under Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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