Addictions, including alcohol dependence, which is the focus of this article, are complex genetic diseases. Recently, several individual genes that contribute to the risk for alcohol dependence have been identified, and more are expected to be in the near future. Among these are genes encoding alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenases and GABAA receptor subunits. These reveal pathways of vulnerability and provide targets for rational drug design. It is likely that response to particular therapies is also a complex trait influenced by genetics, but studies to explore this are just beginning. We discuss some studies on bromocriptine, naltrexone, and serotonergic agents. Adding a genetic component to treatment trials could greatly help to understand the biological basis of variations in the efficacy of therapies and, in the future, could lead to individualized choices of therapy.
- Opioid receptors
ASJC Scopus subject areas