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Genetic mutation plus alcohol leads to violence

A study of criminal offenders in Finland found a certain genetic mutation and alcohol consumption was associated with impulsive violence.

Read Genetic mutation may lead to violent and reckless behavior on ABCNews.com.

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14 Comments on "Genetic mutation plus alcohol leads to violence"

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I think this was in an interesting article. While scientists already know that there is more than one gene for most things, not just the one, especially where things like depression and aggression are concerned, and while we don’t have any control over the expression of our genes when it comes to say “blue eyes” vs “Brown eyes” when it comes to our behavior, we DO have choices one way or the other. We can decide to be aggressive or not, we can decide whether to drink or not.

Drinking of course lower the inhibitions. I’ve sort of always thought that the REAL person was the one you saw drunk, not the other way around.

I’ve heard people say “he’s such a nice guy except when he is drunk.” Personally, I think he is such an arsehole when he is drunk and he is an arsehole when he is sober but he has enough control over himself that he can MASK THE REAL PERSON. When he is drunk, his inhibitions are lowered and he is unable to mask as well.

My egg donor’s brother, Uncle Monster, was nice as he could be when he was sober, but get him loaded on booze, and the REAL MONSTER came out, the arrogant, wife-beating, woman hating, threatening coward that he REALLY was ALL the time, but he just didn’t try to mask it when he was drunk.

Actually I think I am a pretty nice person, but when I get too much to drink (not often in the last 35 years) I just want to sing and dance (can’t do either well sober, much less drunk, but when I’m drunk I THINK I can!) and tell everyone how much I love them. I don’t get mean, I don’t try to hurt others, and there’s really not much difference in the sober me and the drunk me except those who know me try to stop my singing!

I know that medical minds think that alcoholism is a “disease” but while I will concede that there is a genetic basis for alcoholism, the tendency to crave alcohol, but drinking or not drinking is a CHOICE and I think though it may be harder for some people with certain Genes (plural) to refrain from drinking than it might others I think the ultimate truth is that our behavior is a CHOICE, not just genetics.

People who have genetics like I do, that tend toward type II diabetes have choices about how much we eat and exercise. I have an excuse why I didn’t eat right and didn’t exercise, but because I had the genetics I now have diabetes so it is up to me if I choose to eat right and exercise or not. I crave the salt and extra sweets and the nicotine, I imagine just about like an alcoholic craves booze, but it is my choice to lay off the cigarettes and the extra food, and to get off my butt and exercise.

My not making good choices doesn’t hurt anyone else directly, but it does hurt my loved ones when I die earlier, or hurts society when I become ill and use medical care that could have been spent on someone else, or requires someone else to care for me because I had a stroke that could have been avoided if I had made better choices.

Sure I could blame my genetics, but I knew that I had those genes and I chose not to do something about it sooner. I am a health care professional and I knew cigarette smoking was not good for me, and I continued to do it. Just like the alcoholic who gets drunk and hurts others, I chose not to do what I knew was right. Now I choose different choices. Unless an alcoholic or drug addict has permanently injured their brains to where they no longer have “free will” (Uncle Monster got to that stage where too many brain cells were gone and he had no control over his emotions or thinking) they can make the same choices I made and stop drinking, and let their choices determine their behavior and aggression.

Hi Ox. Yes it’s good that this field is being researched but just how it fits together I’m not sure.

My late husband was Bi polar and drank, so was his father and his father before him (although when I met my future husband at age 14 I knew none of this)

It was only after his death and some 35 years that I worked it out for myself! I was in fear/denial all that time.

Can’t talk about this just now but will re-visit it later.

Candy,

Many times the behaviors and thinking patterns that we label ADHD, and bi-polar, AND psychopathic behavior patterns ALL can be in the same person, so the person would be said to have ALL of these problems AND be a psychopath as well.

I think that my uncle Monster, looking at him in retrospect, seemed to have some of the behaviors that would make him a candidate for bi-polar as well as alcoholic and psychopathic. I think many of the things he did to beat and abuse and torture women, and his children were done when he was manic AND drunk—and he would stay awake even while very drunk for days (up to three days that I have been told about) and I don’t think any person who was NOT in a manic state could stay awake 3 days non-stop, much less drunk as well. I was too small when my great grandfather died to know much about his abuse, by the time I knew him he was a silent old man who was very disabled with age. I don’t ever recall him smiling, or talking, or really much except him walking or playing solitaire to pass the time.

I was only told about his abusiveness by one of his DILs after I was 40 and she was 80+. She and her husband had shared a house with GGrandpa and Grandma so she had an up front and personal look at his behavior. I did some research on that side of the family though, and found alcoholism and abuse clear by to a man born in 1800, who was murdered in 1860, and another direct line of that side of the family that went back as far with suicides and murder/suicides and violence (3 generations in a row) So I have NO doubt that there is plenty of genetic material there to work with. MY Uncle Monster’s children both broke the pattern and went along with it—daughter 1 married 4 times, but she has been happily married now for 20 yrs to #4, son (middle child) is almost a hermit he is so socially anxious. Married for about a year as a young man, then really hasn’t even dated until recently and he is 55 years old. Younger daughter married an abusive alcoholic, who quit drinking but I think is a “dry drunk” pretty high in psychopathic traits. Only the younger daughter has 1 biological child, I don’t know the young man, only met him a few times when he was a kid, he is professionally successful, but don’t really know anything about him other than that.

Like the children of alcoholic households frequently are strongly bonded even into adulthood and old age, uncle monster’s kids are even now, as they start to enter their 60s, exceptionally close for siblings even though they have lived on opposite ends of the country for decades.

The genetic aspects of our “temptations” toward one form of behavior or another are very interesting to me. However, I don’t think that it deprives us of free will or choice unless we are so severely brain injured, demented, or mentally ill that we no longer have “free will.”

While in general I think that most adult high-level psychopaths have no desire to change, therefore they aren’t going to change, I still believe that this is a choice. They do KNOW right from wrong, and they CAN conform to that if they desire to. In fact, in many areas and aspects of their lives many of the psychopaths make good choices….”He was such a nice guy when he wasn’t robbing banks.”

Ox thank you for sharing your experiences. I too am convinced that there are threads which run down through families.

I do notice people ‘keep it in the family’. I know my kids and I did.

I see a big difference though between my spath and my late husband. My late husband was tormented by his illness but my spath…..well maybe it’s an illness too…..tricked and lied to me at every opportunity.

Different people with different agendas.

Alcohol changed my husband for the better, made him laugh, joke, life and soul of the party. But when he was not in drink….oh dear, miserable, argumentative, violent – you name it! Along with the alcohol went the gambling – something bi-polars do, (they are euphoric when they win but when they lose…..)between the the two the money was very tight. I could write a book about bi-polar and it’s affect on the family.

You mentioned staying awake, well my late husband was the opposite, he would sleep for days at a time (days and nights and not wake) One day I asked him why he slept and he said ‘if I’m asleep I don’t have to think’

Anyway I’m going on a bit here but I do believe there are genetic links because I have seen the living proof.

Candy,

some people with bi-polar have more depression than mania, and vice versa. The sleeping for days is a sign of depression and I think his comment goes along with that idea of depression. I am sorry that you had such a terrible time with your husband’s bi-polar problems, it can be treated, and I have a couple of friends with it that are well controlled and live normal and productive lives. It is a disease though that sometimes the people who have it RESIST treatment because they actually enjoy the “highs” of the mania.

There are also “levels” of bi-polar too, some much worse than others, and many will “self medicate” with drugs or alcohol for the depression, and or while manic. Which of course only makes things worse. If you add bi-polar, addiction, and psychopathy to the mix you get a sad situation for the family for sure. I’m glad that you are out of that situation now and working on healing yourself. It is never too late to put ourselves on the path toward healing and regeneration! (((hugs)))

Thanks Ox. His depression increased over the years despite medication. There were huge highs and very low lows. Not knowing what mood he was going to be in was probably the hardest thing to deal with. His mood would change in the blink of an eye. The hardest thing was that he was never diagnosed by the medical team so I did not know what I was dealing with. When you live with someone for a long time it is just ‘them’ and we accepted it as such. This may sound really odd to outsiders but as a family we appeared normal when really I was screaming on the inside. I think that the alcohol was his ‘escape’ from reality.

Hi Ox and Candy
My ‘father’ is bi polar and currently sectioned in psychiatric hospital with an episode of full blown mania which he uses canabis to self medicate. i have been in denial for 21 years up until this year. I am trying no contact but he is trying everything he can to get to me. I spoke to him before christmas as i have tried to get the key to his property as his dog was left in there whilst in hospital and his care coordinators would not help me. He was shouting and abusive and i ended up self harming that night. I know in my head I have got to stay away from him for my own well being but i am finding it difficult as i work at the hospital he is detained in and the mental health service in this town rely heavily on families to take responsibility.
I feel like i am in limbo at the moment. I have a therapy session in January regards to helping me find the tools to stop allowing this man to abuse me. sorry i am rambling on.

Aprilshowers – Denial (by us) is a defence mechanism. No contact is not easy (he’s your father after all) and parents are supposed to be therefore us – right?

Self harming shows the level of stress that you are under and that you are asking/crying out for help. By hurting yourself it’s a way of showing others how much you are hurting – but it is not the answer.

Has your father been sectioned?

Would it be possible to get the RSPCA or a similar organisation to rescue the dog?

There is hope for people with bipolar but only if they take their medication (unlike spaths)

You DO NOT have to care for your father no matter what the towns people say. Maybe you could speak with his social worker – explain the situation.

Dear Aprilshowers,

I agree with everything candy said, and I advise you to continue NO CONTACT and explain to the social workers that you MUST put YOURSELF AND YOUR HEALTH FIRST. You cannot help someone else if you are in need of help yourself.

It is kind of like you both fell out of a boat and he does not know how to swim, and you are a strugglling swimmer, if you allow contact with him not only will he drown, but he will drown YOU as well. You cannot save him. YOU MUST SAVE YOURSELF. You cannot do both save him and yourself, it is a matter of choice, either you BOTH drown or you can survive. Anyone who tells you that it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to LET HIM PULL YOU DOWN AS WELL, is WRONG. You have done all you can.

Call the humane society or the local police to get help for the dog if the social workers won’t help. Good luck and God bless you.

thank you Ox and Candy
i had no contact for a month and felt sad at first but got through that part and began to feel better, in control of my life. Then they moved his Psychiatric nurse to another centre and for the past 2 weeks he has not been allocated another one or a social worker. I have contacted his mental health team 3 times telling them about the situation and that I cannot contact him but they just said they will allocate him a new nurse on January 5th when the manager gets back. This is why I stepped in, my downfall, to rescue the dog because no one else could help. He on a section 3 so he could be detained for up to 6 months.
I see i am following an old pattern of rescuing him not directly but rescuing all the same. I feel stronger today and will continue the no contact.
THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIM!!!!
God Bless you both xxx

Aprilshowers – you may find this site useful

http://www.healthyplace.com

‘Caring for someone with bipolar disorder can be overwhelming’.

‘Caring for someone with a psychiatric illness is especially hard for many reasons. Health care coverage is far more limited than for other illnesses. Just getting someone who is in a state of mania — even when psychotic — hospitalized and accurately diagnosed is a major accomplishment. ……..’

There is also a site which explains why you feel the need to self-harm and how you can empower yourself to overcome those feelings.

http://www.mind.org.uk

Not all of the information will apply to you but sift through it and take from it what you need.

Hope this helps.

Candy,
thank you so much for the links and for your support. I am going to read them both now.
May 2011 bring you and Ox and everyone here a peaceful, self empowering year!!

God bless you

April xx

April Showers 🙂

I concur – NO CONTACT: That means:

Deleting his telephone number
Blocking FaceBook
Delete email address
No contact with his family or his friends

‘NO” is a complete sentence!

Stay Healthy – Stay Away!

Take the advice of this experienced group!

God speaks to you through other people – take his advice!

Be kind to yourself! 🙂

Peace and Blessings

🙂

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