As the quest to determine risks for alcohol addiction continues, a new study has shed some unexpected light on the issue. Researchers from the University of Vermont have discovered alcohol addiction may be tied to eye color, offering more evidence of a possible genetic component to substance addiction. The study showed that individuals with lighter eye colors may be more prone to alcohol addiction than their brown-eyed counterparts.
Grey, Blue, Green and Brown
Researchers used their own extensive database of more than 10,000 individuals, which has been used in the past to analyze psychiatric genetics. Out of that database, they selected 1,263 alcohol-dependent subjects of European ancestry for this particular study. Through their analysis of this group, researchers discovered a compelling association between alcohol addiction and those with eyes that were blue, grey, green or brown in the center, with lighter shades around the edges.
The highest incidence of alcohol dependency was seen in individuals with blue eyes. Upon further investigation, researchers noted that genetic elements that determine eye color are found on the same chromosome as the genes that play a role in alcohol abuse. However, researchers were quick to qualify their finding, stating the proximity of genetic material does not provide a definitive cause and effect and more research will need to be done to identify the actual link between the two.
Identifying Risk Factors
The primary purpose of this recent study was to add information to an expanding database involving the factors associated with substance addiction, including genetics. The primary author of the study and doctoral student in cellular, molecular and biomedical sciences at UVM, Arvis Sulovari, told Health, “I think many people don’t realize there is a genetic background to [alcohol addiction]. This is a mental illness, not just something that comes from excessive drinking, and there needs to be more of an effort to find out about it.”
Researchers in the study are anticipating their findings may eventually help professionals identify people at risk for alcohol addiction and provide better methods of prevention and treatment. There is also hope that findings in this study will shed more light on the causes behind some types of mental illness in the future.
The professional staff at Pasadena Recovery Center works with those struggling with alcohol addiction every day. Through a combination of residential and outpatient programs, we strive to meet the specific needs of all of our patients to help them find the path to sobriety, better health and a higher quality of life. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.