Genes Play Part in Link Between Childhood Trauma and Alcoholism
> 6/28/2007 1:18:30 PM

New research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) illustrates a link between childhood sexual abuse and alcoholism. Previous studies have shown that sexual abuse led to many health problems in adulthood, but in this study, which appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers looked at the DNA of a cohort of women who were sexually abused to see if outcomes with respect to alcoholism could be predicted by a genetic variant.

As reported in the NIAAA's press release, a link was discovered:

Analyses of MAOA-LPR genotypes in this study revealed that women who had been sexually abused in childhood were much more likely to develop alcoholism and antisocial behavior if they had the low activity variant whereas the high activity variant was protective. In contrast, there was no relationship between alcoholism, antisocial behavior and MAOA-LPR genotype among non-abused women.

As the study's author explained, MAOA is an enzyme that regulates the bodies response to stress. The implication of this research is that when a women who endures childhood sexual trauma also possess the low activity genotype, she will not process stress as well, and therefore will be more likely to develop alcoholism.

In the statement, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health said,

“With this study we see yet again that nature and nurture often work together, not independently, to influence our overall health and well-being, ”

With every study like this, we gain a little better understanding of the workings of genes and addiction. Clearly, our childhood experiences are exteremly important in determining how our brains will develop. This study, while small, provides a stark look at the importance of encouraging and nurturing strong neurocognative development and preventing traumatic experiences where ever possible.


About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 2004, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages . God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].PEACE BE WITH YOUMICKY
Posted by: Micky 8/31/2007 12:24:33 PM

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