A pioneering, comprehensive guide to the genetics of alcoholism
Historically it has been widely accepted that alcoholism runs in families. Only during the last century did it become fashionable to blame alcoholism on faulty upbringing, lack of willpower, or heartbreaking disappointment. Now with the medical community again focusing on the influence of heredity on alcoholism, noted psychiatrist and researcher Donald W. Goodwin, MD, provides a comprehensive and reasoned overview of what their research has to offer.
Beginning with basic information on the properties of alcohol and alcohol abuse, Dr. Goodwin brings to light the issues that alcoholics and their families must face:
How and why do certain people become alcoholics? How occasional drinkers can become heavy drinkers and alcoholics.
Which relatives of alcoholics are most at risk? Up-to-date evidence on how the disease is “passed along”—from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, grandparents to grandchildren—how often it happens and what factors influence who “inherits” and who doesn’t.
If you or a loved one are predisposed, what can you do? Dr. Goodwin explains the treatments that are available and what the future may hold—from drugs that stop an alcoholic’s excessive drinking to education that could keep him from starting to drink at all.