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Really,, Your Genes Made You Do It?

By Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo, MEDdrunk

Genetic influences are those inherent traits that specific genes are credited for.  Behavioral genetics is the study of genetics that attempts to determine the connection between genes and patterns of behaviors and the environment (i).

I find most interesting the topic of alcoholism.  Scientific/biological research has suggested that there are specific genes that determine if one would be more prone to addiction than others.  For this particular issue the discussion suggests that if you possess the “addictive” gene and are exposed to environments that promote the use of alcohol then it is more than likely that this person will become an alcoholic.  This environmental factor coupled with the genetic makeup of the individual appears to be a combination of genetics and environment, influences, and learning choices.

Trait theorists theorize that people lack free will, that behavior is predetermined, and that environment has no role in behavior. So, does this give the alcoholic a free pass, is this the proverbial get out of jail free card.  Does this mean that one no longer has to be accountable or responsible for that bad drunken behavior, the making a fool of yourself at the annual Christmas party, how you can barely talk, how you are incapable of formulating a logical rationale thought, least to say sentence, but still, you just won’t shut up, potty mouth,, how you can barely walk, but will adamantly insist that you can drive,,,,, but,, this is not your fault, you are a victim, after all, you had no choice, this is your destiny, your genes have determined that you may crawl out of the bar, but you will never crawl out of the bottle…..

I hate to disappoint, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but evidence suggests that regardless of genetics people can and do learn to adapt to different environments and are not victims of determinism.  Those that believe in environmental causes, nurtmonopolyure, or just plain old fashion accountability, hold firm in the belief that environment is the most important aspect and influence on a person’s behavior, not genetics.

If you possess the ability to make a conscious decision, you possess free will,,

So, what does this mean for the alleged predetermined alcoholic, no get out of jail free card for you,, behavior has consequence, you break it, you buy it,, you OWN it,,.

 

Reference:
(i). Human Disease and Conditions, Behavioral health (2014) from, http://www.humanillnesses.com/Behavioral-Health-Fe-Mu/Genetics-and-Behavior.html

How to cite this article:
Nuzzolo, V. E., (2016).  Really Your Genes Made You Do It.  Retrieved from https://risetoshinetoday.org/2016/02/20/really-your-genes-made-you-do-it/

 

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156 Comments

  1. Mingxi Li says:

    I definitely not agree with the genetic predetermined alcoholic term. first of all, you have your own, free will to make decisions. If you hate to be an alcoholic, you definitely won’t. Second, our behavior is affect by environment, nurture, but that does mean if you are surrounding by a alcoholic family and you will become one of them. For example, if your father got drunk every day and beating you and your mom when he got drunk would you like him? Obviously not. Would you be the one that you hate the most and follow your father’s footstep to got drunk and beat your family? Obviously not. Thus, the term ” genetic predetermined alcoholic” is fail to establish.

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  2. Fajr Harris says:

    I do not believe that alcoholism has an actual gene. I am a firm believer in determinism. I could understand their being hereditary genes or genes that match up with parent and child for addiction. i feel like throwing in science just allows for the blame game. People have to be held accountable for what they do. i feel like our genes control what makes a person but not how a person decides to live life. Genes may cause someone who becomes an alcoholic to have a more difficult time leaving it alone.

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    • I do agree with you, genetics give us something to blame and allow us to refrain from taking accountability for addictions. If addicts don’t become accountable for their actions, they will never be able to recognize their wrong-doing, which will lead to it being nearly impossible for sobriety.

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    • Yessi Sanchez says:

      I couldnt agree with you more! People like to play the blame game because it gives them a reason to not stop! They cant stop if they think science is backing them up.

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  3. Terri Thompson says:

    I absolutely don’t agree with the genetic predetermined alcoholic term. If someone does not want to be an alcoholic or drug attic or addicted to anything he won’t be. I believe that the only reason people are addicted to these drugs are simply because of their choice to be. Free will is everything! And the influences may encourage behavior ultimately it’s the individuals choice. Just because both of my parents may be alcoholics doesn’t mean that I’m going to be, but it also doesn’t mean that my sister won’t be. Maybe I might become alcoholic and my sister doesn’t because she understands alcoholism and realize she doesn’t want to be a part of it…. but clearly I must’ve missed the message because I’ve become alcoholic. This has nothing to do with my jeans this is simply life choices! Take accountability for your life choices! Take accountability for your actions! Own up to who you are even if it’s not exactly who you thought you were!!! own up! This is really the true issue is that people can’t see what they’ve been done to contribute to their circumstances

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    • hi Terri
      I completely agree with you people do things because they want to do them its not because a gene switched turned on in your body that ,made you pick that drink up. in the society that we live in people make excuses for this behavior all the time instead of trying to fix the problem.

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  4. Yessi Sanchez says:

    I dont believe that alcoholism is something that is passed on genetically at all. I believe that we are a product of our environment and thats why people that have parents that are alcoholics are prone to become alcoholics too, not necessarily through genes. Everyone has full control of there mind and bodies. They have the capability to stop and want to make a change for themselves to better themsleves and have a better life. It’s just a matter of wanting to get better and taking that first step.

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  5. I do not believe that alcoholism or any addiction for that matter is pre-determined by genetics. We learn to be addicts through association, and by the way we justify the behavior of an addict. If two siblings have an alcoholic parent, there is not a guarantee that either one is going to be an addict of any kind, and that is what genetics would more or less be telling us. One child may view the behavior with extreme negativity and recognize the consequences, whereas the other may recognize the coping mechanisms that addiction allows (such as loss of reality, emotional numbness) and want to bring that behavior into their own life. It is all about the perception of the addict/addiction.

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    • Travis Davis says:

      Hello Kaitlyn, I just want to say that I agree 100% with your statement. I also am a firm believer that alcoholism happens as a result of association that one may become something they didn’t realize they would become. through my own experiences, having heard my own little personal stories from the alcoholics in my family, I can say that alcoholism is not an inborn pattern. those who developed their excessive usage of the drug tend to have come from a very socialistic background and or environment in my case studies.

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  6. Tazeeya Syed says:

    Humans have free will, we make choices. Most of the time our future is in our own hands except when things happen out of order for example; accident or sickness. Yes, we might have different genes that we carry from our family but then we also have a free choice. If people are going to blame alcoholism as genetic then suppose say he should be given a free pass then, then everyone in this world should be given a free pass, a sexual predator should be given a pass for his behavior, a teacher should never fail a student, a person should never be accountable for telling lies and so on; imagine a world this way? People need to have consequences for their behavior and have self control, I think this is what makes us different as humans. Lastly I would say that we can point at genes but in a certain way to a certain limit. I know someone who is in her twenties and is watching what she eats because she knows that she can be diabetic with high cholesterol because it runs in the family. When one can do this an alcoholic can also do the same.

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    • Travis Davis says:

      Exactly why should we use our genes as an excuse to cover up the facts of the situation. I also agree with you on how people allow their genetic background as a “free pass” so to speak. Genetics in my view pertains to your overall aspect of the person, their appearance, character traits etc.., Not the persons attitude . Everyone is capable of making their own decisions. A genetic, or gene in my case does not define a humans freedom of choice.

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  7. Travis Davis says:

    Throughout this passage on alcoholism it has come to my belief that is a form of a gene, your genetics. Also the line “free Will” strikes me. Human beings in my case have their own mind to do as they please. To then say that “it runs in the family” is an expression used as a way of not dealing with the facts. Alcoholism is or this particular issue the discussion suggests that if you possess the “addictive” gene and are exposed to environments that promote the use of alcohol then it is more than likely that this person will become an alcoholic. Though in my timeline and what I have witnessed in my surroundings at times, I have seen that alcoholism comes from within. It is not a gene it is a character trait, due to the fact if that person obtained more than capacity tend to lose personal control. Remember that alcohol is a drug that people find suitable as way of relieving every day stress, or at social events. I feel as if the term alcoholism strays from those who find alcohol usage as an excuse to get through the day. But also remember it was that persons choice, may not have been to become an alcoholic but also did not permit to their genetic background either.

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    • Luis gallego says:

      Completely agree with your answer liquor is definitely a choice people do use it as an excuse to solve their problems supposedly but at the end of the day if you need help you can talk to people or find a source where there are people to talk to and you also have family also that can help you out with any type of situation you have

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  8. Isabelle Giannopoulos says:

    Everyone has free will, you decide if you want to do something or if you don’t. Even if you’re genes could determine if you’ll end up liking alcohol more than others, that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. You don’t have to abuse the use of alcohol if you truly don’t want to. You have options and you make your own decision. If you knew that there was a high chance of you becoming an alcoholic, would you use that to drink even more and use that gene as an excuse or fight it, never drink or limit yourself ? Regardless, you’re choosing what you want to do. Your environment most certainly has a role in your behavior, you see friends and family act differently in certain environments everyday. If you’re around someone your comfortable with , aren’t you being yourself ? If you were in a work environment though, that’d be a totally different attitude and mind set. Everyone should take responsibility for their actions, whether it’s good or bad. Nobody’s going to let you pass because it’s “in your genes”. At the end of the day, YOU chose what you wanted to do, not anything or anybody else.

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  9. Cristina Pereira says:

    Although I believe that alcoholism is not dominated by genes, I take my precautions. Alcoholism tends to run in my family, so I avoid an environment where there is a lot of alcohol involved. I don’t drink, but I have this idea stuck in head that I don’t know when the desire to drink uncontrollably can trigger my genes. I don’t like when people force someone to drink. For that reason, I keep the idea that the environment has the greatest influence on alcoholism.

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  10. Sherrece Doman says:

    I am a firm believer in being a product of your environment. I believe if a parent is a heavy drinker but never drinks around his children or never shows signs to their kids that they are a drinker than those children won’t grow up knowing alcohol as a cooping mechanism. A perfect example would be from the case study about John. If alcoholism was truly genetic then I believe both children would be alcoholics but because maybe John’s brother had more things going for him or maybe did better in school or was more social, that is something that can cause someone like John to try things in order to feel better but if he never knew about alcoholas being something people turn to, maybe he wouldn’t have tried it, saw that in a way it worked for him and develope a problem

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  11. Sam Dunn says:

    I am a believer in nurture an accountability. Alcoholism is not a predetermined gene. I agree, the environment is the key, or one of the key factors in an alcoholic’s road to alcoholism. I am not sure if we can even tell if genes have any role in a person becoming an alcoholic. Think about it this way; one may have a parent or grandparent with alcoholism that could have given the person an addictive gene, however, that person was most likely exposed to the intoxicated behavior and antics of that parent or grandparent. In conclusion, we can’t really be sure if that gene is playing a role in the person’s alcoholism because that person already has the learned the behavior of their ancestors alcoholism. On the contrary, if we were able to determine that genes can cause alcoholism on their own it would still be a responsibility of a person with that gene to handle themselves. People with depression go to therapy or take anti-depressants to take care of themselves. Genetically predetermined alcoholics, unfortunately, would have to try their best to stay away from alcohol or go to some type of therapy, possibly AA; its just like how we brush our teeth in the morning to get the gross plaque off.

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