Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 150–158 | Cite as

The Influence of Gene–Environment Interactions on the Development of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence



Alcoholism and drug dependence are common psychiatric disorders with a heritability of about 50%; therefore genetic and environmental influences are equally important. Early-life stress is a predictor of adolescent problem drinking/drug use and alcohol/drug dependence in adulthood, but moderating factors governing the availability of alcohol/drug are important. The risk–resilience balance for addiction may be due in part to the interaction between genetic variation and environment stressors (G × E); this has been confirmed by twin studies of inferred genetic risk. Measured genotype studies to detect G × E effects have used a range of alcohol consumption and diagnostic phenotypes and stressors ranging from early-life to adulthood past year life events. In this article, the current state of the field is critically reviewed and suggestions are put forth for future research.


Childhood maltreatment Sexual abuse Physical abuse Gene–environment interactions Alcoholism Drug dependence Stressful life events Crossover of risk Differential susceptibility hypothesis Alcohol dependence Cocaine dependence Adolescent problem drinking HPA axis Stress circuitry Cortisol Reward pathway Dopamine Corpus callosum SLC6A4 5-HTTLPR MAOA-LPR CRHBP CRHR1 FKBP5 GABRA2 COMT PER1 KCNJ6 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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