Personality Plays into Likelihood for Alcohol Dependence

According to a recent Science Daily report, whether or not a person develops a dependence upon alcohol may have a lot to do with his or her personality.

Researchers studied a group of alcohol-dependent individuals who have an inactive form of aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2). These individuals would normally have a low incidence of alcoholism because this inactive form of ALDH2 causes negative symptoms when drinking alcohol, such as flushing, nausea, and headaches.

The results from this study suggested that personality factors associated with a tendency toward alcohol dependence were impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and risk-seeking behaviors.

“Some case-control studies have shown that high novelty-seeking (NS) and low harm-avoidance (HA) are associated with alcoholism,” said Mitsuru Kimura, chief of the department of psychiatry and section of behavioral science at the National Hospital Organization, in the Science Daily report.

“But a personality profile associated with alcoholism is not well-established. This is the first study that demonstrates there is a difference between personality profiles of alcoholics with inactive and active form of ALDH2 polymorphism.” Kimura is also the corresponding author for the study.

Researchers determined that those people who became alcoholics even with a strong negative risk factor had a specific characteristic personality profile. In other words, these individuals had higher NS and lower HA than those with active type ALDH2. This finding indicates that those with high NS and low HA are predisposed for alcoholism.

Those participating in the research highlight that personality traits are both inborn and acquired. At the same time, genetic and environmental factors also play an important role in the likelihood of developing alcoholism.

This research does create an opportunity for further exploration into these factors. Alcoholism remains a complicated disease and the variables that play the greatest part for one person, may mean little for another.

There is still hope.

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