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Binge Eating, Alcohol Dependence On Individuals With ADHD Influenced By Hereditary Factors?

First Posted: Sep 07, 2016 06:33 AM EDT

There have been numerous reports saying that the genes play a huge part in the disease development of a person. Now, a recent study has found that it is the genetic factors that are responsible for alcohol dependence and binge eating of individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

According to reports, students from Linköping University making their doctoral thesis have come up with a conclusion that it is primarily hereditary factors that causes adults with ADHD to develop alcohol dependence and binge eating behavior. Aside from children, about 5 percent of the global adult population also suffers from ADHD. According to the study, alcohol dependence and binge eating behavior are more common in adults with ADHD than adults in the general population.

Andrea Johansson Capusan, consultant in psychiatry, focused her thesis on binge eating and alcohol dependence in adults with ADHS symptoms because she wants to know how much of the correlation between disorders can be explained by genetic factors and how much by environment. For the study, the Swedish Twin Registry has allowed her to do a comparison on identical twins who share 100 percent of their genes and fraternal twins with different genetic makeups than any pair of siblings. Two pairs grow up in the same environment, but they are usually affected by individual environmental factors like diseases and their circles of friends.

Science Daily stated that in the twin studies, researchers investigate whether the connection are stronger in identical twins than in fraternal twins. This can help them to determine if the connection between different conditions can be explained if a person's genetic background can greatly influence susceptibility to a condition or if environmental factors are more significant. The four studies in the thesis studied more than 18,000 pairs of twins between the ages 20 and 46 years old. The twins were made to complete questionnaires about the ADHD symptoms they have suffered from, how much alcohol and other substance they consume and their binge eating behavior.

"We have shown for the first time that the correlation between ADHD symptoms and binge eating in women depends mainly on a common hereditary susceptibility for the two disorders. Much of the correlation between alcohol dependence and ADHD can also be explained by genetic factors. The remainder of the correlation is explained by environmental factors that are particular for the individual, which is interesting. It seems that having a common environment while growing up is not significant," says Andrea Johansson Capusan.

According to Medical Xpress, 64 percent of the overlap in ADHD symptoms and alcohol dependence was explained by common genetic factors, while the remaining variance summed up for by environmental factors specific for each twin with no sex differences for the overlap. Also, researchers found a 91 percent correlation between ADHD symptoms and binge-eating behavior that was explained by common genetic factors.

"When treating adults who come with dependency disorder or substance-abuse behaviour, it's important to remember that ADHD is very common in these patients. And conversely-it's important to treat ADHD early in order to prevent alcohol dependence and binge eating later in life," Capusan said.

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