By Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo,  M.Ed., Ph.D.drunk

Genetic influences are those inherent traits that specific genes are credited for.  Behavioral genetics is the study of genetics that attempts to determine the connection between genes and patterns of behaviors and the environment (i).

I find most interesting the topic of alcoholism.  Scientific/biological research has suggested that there are specific genes that determine if one would be more prone to addiction than others.  For this particular issue the discussion suggests that if you possess the “addictive” gene and are exposed to environments that promote the use of alcohol then it is more than likely that this person will become an alcoholic.  This environmental factor coupled with the genetic makeup of the individual appears to be a combination of genetics and environment, influences, and learning choices.

Trait theorists theorize that people lack free will, that behavior is predetermined, and that environment has no role in behavior. So, does this give the alcoholic a free pass, is this the proverbial get out of jail free card.  Does this mean that one no longer has to be accountable or responsible for that bad drunken behavior, the making a fool of yourself at the annual Christmas party, how you can barely talk, how you are incapable of formulating a logical rationale thought, least to say sentence, but still, you just won’t shut up, potty mouth,, how you can barely walk, but will adamantly insist that you can drive,,,,, but,, this is not your fault, you are a victim, after all, you had no choice, this is your destiny, your genes have determined that you may crawl out of the bar, but you will never crawl out of the bottle…..

I hate to disappoint, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but evidence suggests that regardless of genetics people can and do learn to adapt to different environments and are not victims of determinism.  Those that believe in environmental causes, nurtmonopolyure, or just plain old fashion accountability, hold firm in the belief that environment is the most important aspect and influence on a person’s behavior, not genetics.

If you possess the ability to make a conscious decision, you possess free will,,

So, what does this mean for the alleged predetermined alcoholic, no get out of jail free card for you,, behavior has consequence, you break it, you buy it,, you OWN it,,.


(i). Human Disease and Conditions, Behavioral health (2014) from,

How to cite this article:
Nuzzolo, V. E., (2016).  Really Your Genes Made You Do It.  Retrieved from