Health Care Providers Investigate Treatment Options for Alcoholism

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - "Alcohol use disorder" is the medical term for someone dealing with alcoholism. As more people are being diagnosed with it, health care providers are investigating whether genetic testing may lead to better treatment options.

According to the mayo clinic, roughly 3 in 10 Americans meet the criteria to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Dr. Victor karpyak, oversees the Mayo Clinic's addiction treatment services and many of those people are related to others with similar problems.

He says, "We know that people who have alcohol use disorder tend to have relatives with alcohol use disorder or relatives who are suffering from other substance use disorders."

Karpyak stated about half of those with alcohol use disorder inherit it because of their genetics, but genetic markers may also help improve treatment of alcohol use disorder. In addition to behavior modification, many people are able to overcome their alcohol use disorder with approved medications based on the patient's genetic factors. Dr. Karpyak says genetic research is making it easier for health care providers to give the most effective treatment possible to each individual patient.