A  A  A   Print
Alcoholism and Family History

Alcoholism and Family History

If you have a parent, grandparent, or other close relative with alcoholism, you are at increased risk of having problems with alcohol. Many studies of children of alcoholics have found that they are about four times more likely to develop alcohol problems than people without a family history of alcoholism, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Many other factors affect your risk of alcohol use problems.  These include how your parents raised you, your friends, your stress level, and how available alcohol is to you.

Knowing that you’re at risk is important, though, because you can take steps to protect yourself.

Certain symptoms

According to the NIAAA, alcoholism is a disease that includes at least three of the following four symptoms:

1. Craving. A strong need or urge to drink.

2. Loss of control. Not being able to stop drinking or to control the results once drinking starts.

3. Physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, are experienced when you stop drinking.

4. Tolerance. The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol over time.

What to do

If you think you are at risk for alcohol problems, here are some steps from the NIAAA to help prevent it:

  • Avoid drinking at a young age. The risk for alcoholism is higher if you begin to drink at an early age. This is because of social factors and genes.

  • Drink moderately as an adult. You should approach even moderate drinking with caution because you may find it difficult to stay at that level. Better yet, avoid alcohol completely.

Seek help        

Talk with your health care provider or a substance-abuse counselor. They can recommend support groups or helpful organizations, or even treatment if needed.

If you’re an adult who already has begun to drink, your health care provider can assess your drinking. He or she can tell you if you need to cut back and advise you how to go about it.

Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.