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The cause of reckless and impulsive behavior due to alcohol consumption is found in the mutation of a gene

The cause of reckless and impulsive behavior due to alcohol consumption is found in the mutation of a gene

June 17, 2024

We all have a friend or acquaintance who c When you drink alcohol you get out of control and show impulsive and reckless behavior . A Finnish study suggests that these individuals can not avoid it, because they are genetically predisposed to react in this way when they consume alcohol.

A genetic mutation found in 2.2 percent of the population seems to be the cause of this problematic behavior. The genetic mutation affects the serotonergic receptor called 2B.

Still do not know what serotonin is? In the article "Serotonin: discover the effects of this hormone in your body and mind" we explain it to you in detail.

2.2 percent of the population has this genetic mutation

Everyone has a different level of tolerance to alcohol, but for some individuals, just by drinking a small amount of this substance can act very disproportionately, impulsively, recklessly and dangerously.

Recent research has found a biological reason for this behavior, as a group of researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland claim that the cause is in a genetic mutation . In the country where this study was conducted, more than 100,000 people have this mutation.

The study confirms another investigation of the year 2010

The research was conducted by the psychiatrist Roope Tikkanen, and concludes that the mutation of a gene related to the serotonergic receptor B2 causes impulsive behavior, particularly when the carrier individual is drunk. Published by the Nature Publishing group in its magazine Translational Psychiatry, the results of the research confirm an earlier study by Bevilacqua and his team, which took place in 2010.

For the study of Tikkanen but, the scientists used the data of alcoholic patients and their relatives, compiled by Mattu Virkkunen, professor emeritus of Forensic Psychiatry at the same university. In addition, the subjects of the research completed personality questionnaires and were interviewed face to face by a psychiatrist.

The discovery has its origin in a cooperative relationship that lasts several years, between the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Helsinki and the Laboratory of Neurogenetics of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the United States, directed by Dr. David Goldman

Not much is known about the serotonergic receptor 2B

Tikkanen explains: "There are people who change radically when they consume alcohol and are not able to correct their behavior despite it repeating, which did not suggest that this phenomenon was due to biological factors."

Very little is known about serotonergic receptor 2B in humans, but it is thought to be related to impulsivity, which, in turn, is associated with different mental health problems. The identified mutation is present in 2.2 percent of the population, therefore, more than 100,000 Finns are carriers.

"The impact of a gene on a complex phenomenon like this is difficult to observe. But it is possible to identify the impact of genetic mutation on the Finnish population, because our historical isolation has led us to a relatively homogeneous gene pool, "says Tikkanen.


If these results are confirmed in larger samples of subjects who suffer serious difficulties in controlling their impulsiveness, different corrective measures can be taken. The most important and priority is the prevention of alcohol consumption by these individuals. Other measures could be cognitive-behavioral therapy for impulse control or, ultimately, pharmacological treatment.

Apart from the effect it may have on the health of the population, the discovery of this biological mechanism may cause further investigation into the role of serotonergic receptor 2B in the human body. New research in the neurobiological field will surely go in this direction. Further, the best knowledge about this receptor can stimulate innovation in the pharmacological world .

Finally, Tikkanen concludes: "The mutation can also be predictive of impulsive violent behavior, since we discovered that the prevalence of the mutation is four times higher among a population of individuals categorized as violent delinquents. This may have implications for the prevention of violence and serve the legal system in decision making. "

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