Many of us probably believe we spend too much time on the internet or doomscrolling through social media, but a new study has found that people who regularly drink alcohol are more susceptible to it.
A research team at Yale University has found that there are several genes in the body that can trigger both alcohol abuse and potentially addictive behaviours in other areas such as gaming, the internet and even exercise addiction.
Supporting previous research that found that addiction can often be genetically determined, it also found overlaps of types of disorders, including the relationship between regular drinking and addiction to the internet.
There has been a sharp rise in people suffering from alcohol abuse in recent years, particularly during the pandemic, with more and more people seeking out treatment at both alcohol rehab centres and through home detox.
The study asked questions about alcohol consumption, as well as other substance usage, alongside their engagement with other potentially addictive behaviours, which included the internet, social networking sites, gambling and eating to name a few) to determine whether there was any connection.
The results found that some genes in a person could make them susceptible to both the usage of certain substances and addictive behaviours, with FOXN3 and the rs759364 variant being associated with more regular alcohol consumption alongside more problematic usage of the internet.
Dr Zsolt Demetrovics, chair of the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming at the University of Gibraltar said of the study, “These findings can contribute to the scientific knowledge on addictions which affects millions of people worldwide.”
“A novelty of the PGA study is that it explores the relationships between substance use and non-substance-related addictive behaviours in detail. It could bring us closer to understanding the overlap between the vulnerability of different types of potentially addictive behaviours. For example, being vulnerable to problematic alcohol use might also pose an increased risk for gambling, video game use or working addiction. This could be a relevant consideration also when planning treatment interventions.”
The PGA is a major research project that is continuing to look into matters around addiction, and with both alcohol abuse on the rise and the accessibility of technology, a firmer understanding on the relationships between the two needs to be identified in order to combat the problems that will continue to arise over the coming years.