These findings are important for two reasons. First, they support the notion that genetics alone are not sufficient to account for a person's vulnerability to addiction. Prior experience also plays a role. Second, the results point a direction for areas that need to be explored in treatment.
Over my 25 years of experience as a psychologist, I gradually came to realize that drinking may be one of the most common yet least talked about causes of marital conflict. Unfortunately, in the couples I've worked with this issue is often swept under the carpet.
Health and mental health practitioners need not see an alcoholic behind every symptom in order to recognize that there are indeed prodromal signs that may be evident years before a patient's drinking might be "diagnosable."
The United States Preventive Services Task Force just issued a report and an advisory that all sensible men and women would do well to take heed of. This panel reviewed a large body of research on drinking patterns among adult men and women.
As a society it seems that we have, over time, come to think of drinking in terms of a dichotomy. In other words, we see the "drinking world" as divided into two categories of people: There are alcoholics, and then there are "the rest of us."
Just as our interpersonal relationships can differ in terms of intensity, so can our "relationship" with drinking. Moreover, these differences aren't separated by sharp lines; rather, they tend to blend into one another.