People who need lots of alcohol to get drunk tend to drink more and are at a greater risk of alcholism than other people. They also tend to drink with other heavy drinkers giving them false ideas about how much other people drink. A low level of response (LR) to alcohol is influenced by genes but it is unclear how much it is due to them and how much to drinking more and starting to drink earlier than other people. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, studied 297 men who were tested on their response to alcohol between the ages of 18 and 25. They were then monitored for alcohol problems after 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. Even after taking into account: a family history of alcohol problems, typical drinking quantity, the age when they first started drinking, weight and their age when they started the study LR at the start of the study still predicted the development of alcohol problems later, suggesting that a genetically-determined LR is a risk factor for developing drink problems regardless of environmental factors.
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