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Alcohol use disorder (AUD), also known as alcoholism, is the condition in which a person cannot control his desire for alcohol consumption, even when it negatively impacts their lives. The addiction arises from drinking so much to the extent of your body becoming dependent on alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can be caused by a combination of social, environmental, physiological, hereditary and genetic factors.

Alcohol abuse in the United States has become a significant problem, with about 18 million adults struggling in the country with the disorder. It is estimated that about 100,000 people die every year from alcohol abuse and related conditions such as cirrhosis and other organ damage. Chronic alcohol abuse also leads to several cancers, diabetes, and kidney disease

Is my alcoholism genetic or hereditary?

Some genes have been linked to an alcohol use disorder. Your chances of becoming an alcoholic are high if you have a close relative, such as a parent or a sibling who struggles with alcohol disorder, therefore the desire of separation from them could become a passing thought. Heredity and genetics are closely related since a parent can pass down their genes to the children, and so they inherit the traits. From the medical point of view, having a genetic condition translates to an abnormality in your genome. In contrast, hereditary condition means that an individual has received some genetic mutations from their parents’ genome. This leaves you with the question: Is alcoholism hereditary or a genetic condition? Looking separately at each predicament will help you garner understanding regarding genetic and hereditary alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol Use Disorder and Genetics

Genetics contributes to 50 percent of alcohol abuse cases. A research conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in 2008 revealed that an individual’s genetics contribute to 40 to 60 percent of the variance among people who struggle with alcohol abuse. Moreover, there are specific genes that contribute to alcohol disorder and are linked to the growth of the brain reward centers.

However, expressing genes phenotypically is very complex. For instance, a person may have one short parent, while the other is tall. As such, they carry both shortness and tallness genes, but they can either be tall or short. Strong genes are responsible for gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) movement in synapses between neurons and have been associated with a higher risk of alcohol use disorder. Up to date, it is still not clear how genetic sequence may contribute to the disorder. The following are some of the ways in which genes that control alcohol use disorder may be expressed:

  • Various warning signs: Individuals who may be having a genetic predisposition to alcohol use disorder experience various warning signs from their own body or brain when they need to cease consumption of alcohol.
  • Abnormal serotonin levels: Serotonin is closely associated with depression and is the most vital mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Abnormal levels of serotonin have been linked to individuals who are genetically predisposed to an alcohol use disorder.
  • Smaller amygdale: Some studies show that people who originate from families with a history of alcohol use disorder have an abnormally small amygdala. Amygdala is the part of the brain involved with the experiencing of emotions interrelated with carvings.

Is Alcoholism Hereditary?

Heredity implies the passing of genes from the parents to the offspring. A series of genetical codes in the DNA is passed from parents to our bodies during conception. Genes can be both mental and physical, and this allows the disorders that affect the mind and the body to be passed. Alcohol disorder genes are passed in the same way to the offspring. Children from alcoholic parents have up to fourfold increased chances of struggling with alcohol use disorder later in life.

Statics show that the relationship between a family history of alcohol abuse and a high risk of genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse depends on how close the individuals are related. For instance, children with one of the parents struggling with alcohol disorder have four times increased risk of abusing alcohol. This association is not as strong as having more relatives, such as grandparents, uncles and aunts struggling with this disorder.

Environmental Factors

Environmental influences usually have a significant impact on whether or not an individual will develop alcohol abuse problems. Some of the factors are:

  • Early Drinking Age: Individuals who start taking alcohol in their adolescence are prone to develop alcohol use disorder. People who avoid taking alcohol until they are old enough are unlikely to struggle with alcohol use disorder.
  • Family Life: Children who grow up in an environment with alcohol abuse are more likely to become alcoholic someday. Being in a family with alcoholic parents and relatives increases the chances of a child becoming an alcoholic than they would without alcohol abuse in their immediate environment.
  • History of Abuse: Other forms of abuse such as physical, verbal or sexual abuse experienced during childhood can have some adverse effects to the victims, with or without alcohol influence. According to studies, women with alcohol disorder are likely to have been neglected or mistreated during their formative age compared to those who are not alcoholic.
  • Peer Pressure and Social Life: The newfound freedom mostly experienced by college students often come with pressure to take alcohol at parties and eventually become binge drinking habit, which is why the use of sober bars are encouraged. Excess drinking has been observed in some individuals who have experienced big transitions in life, such as getting a new job or moving to a new city. Maintaining a circle of friends with unhealthy behavior can also be risky. The level of education also shows a strong trend in drinking habit. In the United States, 80 percent of college graduate use alcohol, while only 52 percent of non-college graduates use it. 
  • Mental Health Problems: People suffering some of the psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are more at risk of developing alcohol use disorder.

Causes of Alcoholism

Having read some of the factors contributing to alcohol use disorder, it would be correct to deduce that there is no exact cause of alcohol use disorder. These are simply the various influences that affect the likelihood of an individual to experience alcohol disorder in their lifetime. The main aspects contributing to alcohol abuse are environmental factors, hereditary genes, and genetic predisposition. Half of the alcohol abuse cases are blamed on genetics; however, people with a genetic predisposition for alcoholism disorder can effortlessly avoid the addiction by maintaining a healthy and happy life.

 

Dr. Venice Sanchez

Ph.D., LMFT

Clinical Outreach Specialist, Europe Division

Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder, Bereavement, Acute stress disorder, and more. Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.

Jaime Askew

LMFT, LPCC

Clinical Director

Ms. Askew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been working in the field treating substance abuse and mental health issues for over twenty years.  She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University and was among the first to obtain the LPCC license in the state of California.  She has been providing clinical supervision and training to interns, conducting workshops, and is a certified Trauma therapy trainer.  Her areas of expertise include working with legal issues, court ordered treatment, family preservation, trauma therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family systems, social skills training, play therapy, and career/ vocational counseling.  Her passion is in advocating for at risk populations, holistic healing, and treating the underlying, core issues to help individuals achieve their maximum potential and happiness.  Jaime’s extensive experience and passionate leadership is of extreme importance to the overall TruVida clinical program, and her hands-on guidance of our clinical team insures that each patient is receiving optimal therapeutic treatment and care.

John Biroc

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Biroc has a broad base of mental health and addiction recovery training and experience. He has supervised and taught therapists in various methodologies of effectively working with groups and individuals during therapy. He created and set up new group structures and trained staff in understanding the challenges of addiction recovery. He also helped develop curricula in Sociodrama and Psychodrama. Dr. Biroc is devoted to breaking paradigms that prevent progress in the path to lasting recovery. He is a member of the Nat’l Association of Marriage and Family therapists, and has a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, and a M.S. degree in Counseling from USC.

Dr. Nader Siahdohoni

Consulting Psychologist

Ph.D.

Dr. Nader is one our esteemed consulting Psychologists who provides our Clients with various breakthrough therapy’s that focus the functional systems including neurons, neurotransmitters, and certain brain waves that enable the way we think, behave, move, feel, and maintain homeostasis. Such therapy’s include NeuroMax neurofeedback, the state of art integrated technology in Neurofeedback, combinations of wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG), real time brain mapping and a unique and exceptional neuropathway therapy called “Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT)”. Dr Nader graduated from Walden University.

Tiffany Agra

Therapist

LMFT #103693

Ms. Agra is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who has been working with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the past seven years. Her other therapeutic approaches include Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Psychodynamic dream interpretation, and Gestalt Psychology. She has also been a Guest Speaker at other organizations. This unique background has made her effective at helping clients overcome the grip of substance addiction. Tiffany obtained two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s degree from the California State University, Long Beach. She has worked for both the county of Orange and Riverside, helping those who struggle with addiction and mental illness. In addition to providing evidenced-based approaches to the clinical program at Truvida Recovery, she brings her compassion as a fellow addict in recovery; living proof that we do get better!

Deborah Wieland

Therapist

MS, LMFT #96864

Ms. Wieland is an Eclectic EMDR Therapist, using R-TEP and G-TEP, and specializes in several modalities in treating Substance Use issues, Dual Diagnosis, Complex Trauma, and Severe Mental illness. Deborah also provides several types of therapy such as Psychodynamic, Rogerian, CBT, DBT, IFS, PICT, MI, Grief Recovery, Sand Tray, and Attachment Theory to help her patients achieve mental wellness and a sober lifestyle.

She has worked with Psychiatric Hospitals providing crisis interventions and psychotherapy to those struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and domestic violence. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanguard University of Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Cal Southern University. Deborah is an active member of EMDRIA, California Association Marriage Family Therapist (CAMFT), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and Psi Chi International Honors Society of Psychology.

Ashley McLaughlin

LMFT Therapist

Ms. McLaughlin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in EMDR therapy. She brings over ten years of experience working in the field of addiction to the Truvida Team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from University of California, San Diego. Ms. McLaughlin was trained in EMDR in 2013 and since has been helping individuals process through past traumatic experiences that have contributed to current struggles with substance abuse and mental health symptoms. Her extensive experience and passion for this field has helped guide individuals through the process of recovery in order to experience freedom from their past and a hope for their future.

Travis Taylor

Therapist

LMFT

Mr. Taylor is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in  Drug Abuse & Addiction,  PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality, Codependency, Coping Skills, Depression, Dual Diagnosis. Taylor uses an integrative approach geared towards understanding self, specifically what drives one’s thoughts and behaviors. He excels in helping patients identify automatic thoughts that lead to specific feelings and undesired actions. Another useful approach stems from understanding how thoughts and behaviors are fueled by former messages that have been consistently reinforced. Travis has over 6 years of therapeutic practice and obtained a Master’s degree at Vanguard University.

Kat Johnson

AOD Counselor, Group Facilitator

With almost 10 years experience working at treatment centers, Kat Johnson shares her wisdom and passion for balanced living, creative writing, and meditation and how each plays a role in early recovery and beyond. Certified as a CADC II, and supported by a bachelors in psychology, Kat’s infectious energy brings her groups to life. She is grateful for every opportunity to spread health and wellness.

Paige A. Chastain

AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Ms. Chastain has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict/alcoholic, bringing personal experience to both individual substance abuse and group counseling settings. She has worked in the field of addiction for several years, currently working as an addiction counselor and case manager.  Paige too, is a collaborative member of the multi-disciplinary team providing excellence in addiction services, working with clients from detox to intensive outpatient levels of care. She holds a strong skill-set in Psychoeducation, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She also has extensive experience with 12-step recovery programs. Paige is passionate about treating the client with empathy, compassion and respect throughout the client’s journey.  Paige holds an AA from Saddleback College, a BA from the University of California of Irvine and is a certified CADC-I holding memberships with CCAPP and NAADAC.

Lesley Richards

AOD Counselor, Interventionist

Ms. Richards began in this field of healthcare as a volunteer for substance abuse treatment centers and worked her way up from there. Lesley has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict. It is her strong belief that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to have a safe and sober life.  She is very compassionate about her work as an addiction counselor, and has a strong commitment in helping patients struggling with addiction in developing healthy coping mechanisms, and developing new positive behavioral habits.  Her Group counseling sessions are highly sought after within the TruVida program.  Lesley is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), National Certified Intervention Professional (NCIP), Nationally Certified Recovery Coach (NCRC), and is a member of the California Consortium of Addiction programs (CCAP), as well as the International Association of Addiction Professionals.

Christine Green

Treatment Facilitator

Christine Green is a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. Ms. Green is dedicated to helping patients struggling with substance abuse transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to body-in-motion fitness.

Christine passionately shares her 18 years experience with our clients by sharing her specialized Yoga & Energy Healing Program, which she has developed over the past 8 years of working directly with addicts and alcoholics. Her Yoga program facilitates integration of all the layers of life – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual with the primary initial goal of overcoming withdrawal symptoms and cravings from drug and alcohol dependency. TruVida is fortunate to have her as part of the team.

Allison Goode

Art in Recovery Counselor

Allison Goode is a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and professional artist for over 15 years, and has developed a very successful and trans-formative Art in Recovery program in treatment facilities through out California. Her passion for the fine arts and helping others recover from substance abuse addiction is contagious. Allison has a unique ability to connect with clients through the creative process helping clients set positive goals for their recovery. Ms. Goode has studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design, is a certified RADT1 technician, and is currently completing her CCAPP certification program.

Thomas Mladinich

Admissions Manager

Mr. Mladinich’s hard work ethic and dedication make him a key part of the TruVida team. Tom’s ability to connect and relate with others have allowed him to excel as admissions manager. His personal experience has allowed him to proudly serve those in need of recovery from addiction. Tom is eager to work with our clients and provide the experience, strength and hope that they need to find success in recovery.

Willie Sanchez

Operations Manager

Mr. Sanchez is a self-motivated professional with a positive attitude. He is actively involved in a 12 step fellowship. He effectively contributes to each Patient with their struggles with addiction. Willie is RADT1 certified counselor and has been educated at Long Beach City College.

Jose Flores

Program Manager

Mr. Flores is a highly motivated and hardworking team member with TruVida. He has several years of experience working in treatment helping individuals get back on track, achieving a lot of great results. He brings problem solving skills and experience to use everyday, and is proud and passionate about his profession as a RADT-I program manager.

Dr. Andrew Morrow

MD, Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist

Dr Morrow is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Psychiatry, who specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, thought disorders, other mental health issues, and substance abuse addictions. Having undergone extensive training in medical school, psychiatric residency and over 15 years of psychiatric practice, he is well trained in both psychotherapy and medication management of mental problems. Dr Morrow integrates psychological, and social characteristics with biological therapy to treat the whole person; mind, body, and soul, and it is with great humility that he pursues the goal of freedom from substance abuse addictions.

Dr Morrow conducted his undergraduate education at St. Louis University with a B.S. in Chemistry graduating summa cum laude. He then attended medical school at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training and served as chief resident at University of California, Irvine Medical Center.

Sound Bath Therapy

Truvida’s sound bath treatment is a very effective experiential therapy that uplifts one’s body, mind and soul. Our certified Sound Healer plays crystal singing bowls as well as the gongs to stimulate various chakra centers.

For more than 50,000 years, sound has been used to heal, and motivate the human soul.  During a sound bath or sound healing session, one’s brain waves & breathing become regulated and synchronized, producing a deep sense of peace & well being. Bathing in sacred sound allows us to powerfully resonate with frequencies that allow us to balance & heal on all levels.

Sound therapy allows professionals to tackle addiction at a brainwave level, thus making it much easier for patients to achieve a meditative state and come to terms with their problems. Sound Therapy redresses imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and plays a positive and powerful role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.

Substance Abuse can also lead to the development of a co-occurring condition (or vice versa) and cleansing the body of a substance isn’t always enough for a complete and lasting recovery. Patients must also address the physiological and emotional issues that may have led to the destructive behavior in the first place.

Evidence shows that the outcomes of sound therapy are extremely positive and beneficial to patients’ behavior, especially when doctors pair them with other scientific methods, such as individual therapy, behavioral therapy, and so on.

Natural Benefits Of Sound Therapy:

TruVida’s Sound Therapy is performed by Andrew Hubbard who is a certified Sound Bath practitioner and conducted multiple college level studies in Sound Therapy and Music theory.

Robert (Bobby) Nicholl

Admissions and Interventions

Bobby has spent over 15 years in the development and operations of several residential treatment centers in California. He is a Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionist, as well as a Registered Addiction Specialist. Mr. Nicholl is personally involved in Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California. He says, “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.” As Bobby says: “I’ve recently learned what really matters the most in life: God, my relationships, and my integrity. There is nothing more important!”

“If you have a hole in your life and your very inner being (your soul) feels empty and hungry? Then welcome, to Celebrate Hope, you’re at the right place for healing and restoration of mind, body, and spirit; we will provide you with a dignified setting and surround you with loving people. You’re going to get everything you need and even some of your wants while Celebrating Hope. Everywhere you look you’re surrounded by people who believe in you and believe you have what it takes to recover, heal, and be WHOLE. We believe in and love you because He (God) first believed in and loved us.” From day one, Bobby has focused treatment services on “What is in the best interest of the client?” With that in mind, the treatment team develops individualized treatment plans with each client’s specific needs in mind.

Charlie Grooms

Christian Pastor

Pastor Charlie leads our Christ – centered addiction treatment program dealing with men and women who are seeking restoration from drug and alcohol addiction through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our program is based entirely on the Word of God, the Bible, and all counsel originates from it. Our experience has been that with a solid grounding in the Bible and good Christian living skills, numerous men and women have been able to become productive, vital members of their community. Our primary focus is to establish, or strengthen, a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to experience true freedom from the bondage of the sin of addiction

Charlie is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he attended a Christian college and then traveled across the country to California to continue his education at Bethel School of Ministry and graduated in 2015. Charlie has conducted interviews with TBN and other nation wide radio stations.

Michael Rosales

Case Manager – Christian Minister

Bio coming soon!

Dr. Edward Kaufman

MD, Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist

Dr. Kaufman graduated from Medical school at Thomas Jefferson University, and completed residency at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Kaufman specializes in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine and has been practicing for over 50+ years. He has recently been selected to the 2017-2018 Best Doctors in America List based upon polling of over 40,000 physicians nationwide. Dr. Kaufman has also been distinguished in each of the last 13 bi-annual reviews conducted for the distinguished “Best Doctors” list, and has been selected as the Outstanding Psychiatrist in Orange County by the Orange County Psychiatric Association.

During the course of his remarkable medical career, he has served as president for the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the editor for the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He has authored three books, edited five more, and written over 200 articles and book chapters on family therapy, alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety and depression. Dr. Kaufman was a full professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, where he served as Director of Psychiatric Education, Director of Family Therapy Training and Chemical Dependency Program Medical Director. Dr. Kaufman blends his knowledge of psychology, family systems and psychopharmacology to meet the individual needs of Truvida Recovery’s clients.

Kim Brassett

LMFT Therapist

Ms. Kim Brassett is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She brings over 7 years of experience to the Truvida Team, and is EMDR Therapist. Her style is warm, supportive & positive and her philosophy is healing happens when the therapeutic relationship is collaborative, honest, compassionate, respectful and caring. She comes from a place of personal experience and a genuine desire to help make a significant improvement in the lives of the people with whom she works with. She provides a unique therapeutic approach to treat a wide variety of conditions including addiction & recovery, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, sexual abuse, trauma, grief and loss, relationship issues and life transitions. Kim works with clients from various cultures and backgrounds as well as all ages, and strives to create a supportive, safe environment where one can share their experiences, emotions, challenges.

Leah Dean

LMFT Therapist

Ms. Leah Dean is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is Certified in Dual Disorders. She brings over ten years of experience to the TruVida Team. Her therapies concentrate on Drug and Alcohol abuse/use, grief and loss, blended families, Dual Diagnosis, divorce recovery, Parent/Child Conflicts, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, stress management, and Gay & Lesbian issues. Her goal it that each of her clients enrich their personal and relational growth as well as enhance their emotional healing. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and believes that mind, body and spirit are essential components to healing. Her Psychotherapy provides the ceremonial time/space for honoring one’s movement thru important life passages. Leah utilize the 12-Step program/concepts to help deal with the difficult issues of drug and alcohol abuse/use, and incorporates spirituality as well as self actualization, and mindlfullness.