Apparently Your Drunken Behavior May Be Genetic

Rachel Krause
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We’ve all been “that girl” once or twice while drinking—crying, dancing on tables, hitting on everyone at the bar, picking totally absurd fights with your boyfriend that you’re doomed to apologize profusely for the next morning.

But if you find yourself behaving badly on an all-too-regular basis, it may not be entirely your fault: Researchers from the University of Helsinki Psychiatry Clinic have identified a gene mutation which “renders carriers susceptible to particularly impulsive and reckless behavior when drunk.” The discovery is based on an original observation from 2010 that studied the mutation of the serotonin 2B receptor among Finns and made use of “unique data” on impulsive alcoholics and their relatives.

Individuals with HTR2B, the variation of the serotonin 2B receptor gene in question, tend to be more prone to impulsive behavior overall, not just when under the influence, says the study’s lead researcher, Roope Tikkanen, PhD. These people are also more likely to struggle with self-control or mood disorders. The research suggests that they’re not alcoholics based on their amount of consumption, but it found that they had an overarching tendency to “lose control” of their behavior while drinking.

Pinpointing this gene mutation is actually good news for those who have it: It’s now believed that the serotonin 2B receptor may have a key role in regulating people’s mood. “Very little is known about the role of [the receptor] in humans,” Tikkanen told Time. “New knowledge in this area might open up opportunities for new [pharmacological] innovations, since there is no FDA-approved medicine available that [has] a high affinity particularly for this receptor.”

So if you’ve always wanted to take a pill to ensure you wouldn’t lash out at your best friend or go home with a stranger after just two drinks, the solution may be available in the not-so-distant future.

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