Alcoholics vs Nonalcoholics and AA

I’ve got a friend who has recently begun going to AA meetings. She tells me that an ‘alcoholics’ body breaks down alcohol differently from a non-alcoholic and the difference in metabolism is what differentiates between an alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I believe that most peoples body’s are basically the same and psychological issues are more to blame for severe alcoholism. Whats the deal on this? Links to relevant scientific studies would be appreciated.

If AA helps people deal with their alcohol problems, i’m all for it, but my gut instinct tells me that this whole thing with 'you are an alcoholic because your body is different ’ sounds like BS. What’s the deal?

At the least, there is a connection between Alchoholism and Depression.

As far as I know, one of the prime symptoms of beginning alchoholism is increased tolerance, and it sharply decreases at the the other end of the Progression. That bit’s from high school Pyschology, so could be wrong.

Alcoholics are actually physically addicted to alcohol. They have physical withdrawal symptoms after stopping drinking, though if someone has been drinking alcoholically for only a few years, the symptoms may be very mild. In the early days of AA, many groups actually kept booze on hand for those who were so far gone that withdrawal was actually dangerous: convulsions and DTs (delerium tremens) can result from abrupt withdrawal. An alcoholic’s body chemistry is different, because they can build up a tolerance for quantities of alcohol that should be lethal.

Thanks for the reply’s. What I’m trying to understand is, is an alocolics body chemistry different because of the years of abuse or was it different at birth,causing them to be an alcoholic after that first drink. My friend seems to believe they are just born different. I’m skeptical of that point of view.

Studies by Dr. Ting-Kai Li, at the Indiana University School of Medicine, have linked genetic factors with predisposition towards or away from alcoholism:

I t is clear that in some individuals, alcoholism is a genetic thing, not a lack of character of willpower.

As the article Fear Itself linked says, some people are born with a predisposition to alcoholism. They are not born addicted to alcohol, but they are far more likely than the average person to develop an addiction if they drink. Environmental factors most certainly play a part; I grew up in an alcoholic household, and that definitely had a great effect on my later behavior, such as beginning to drink in the first place. However, it was the genetic factor that made me more likely to become addicted.

Slight change in the direction of this topic. Anyone have any idea what causes different people to react differently to alcohol? As anyone who drinks knows, some people get extremely violent, or weepy or just plain erratic and make foolish decisions while drinking. Other people seem to exhibit some self control even while drunk. When I drink, I know that a) dont go punch that guy in the face, he didn’t mean to run into me. b) dont start crying,all my friends still love me and c) no, i’m not a better driver while drinking,better call a cab. Some people drink and turn into that chick from the exorcist and even when you remind them “hey, you’ve been drinking you’re not behaving rationally”, at that moment they BELIEVE they are being rational. They just don’t get it. Whats up with that?