Why is it that some individuals can drink alcohol on a regular basis and never develop an addiction, while others may become addicted rather quickly? Researchers for years have pointed to differences in our genetics and hormone levels as contributing factors to determine whether or not a substance can become a problem. In a recent Private MD Labs report, researchers are suggesting that those who struggle with alcohol addiction may want to look into cortisol testing. If this hormone level is too high, it could play a role in alcohol dependency. University of Liverpool researchers have determined that alcoholics tend to have higher levels of cortisol in their systems. This stress hormone is normally associated with the response to stressful situations. It is now being suggested that chronically high levels may contribute to addiction. Lead investigator Abi Rose noted that drinking and withdrawal from alcohol can contribute to cortisol functions. Rose suggests that cortisol dysfunction – which includes high levels generally observed when alcohol is withdrawn – may play a part in the high rates of relapses reported in alcohol dependent individuals, even several months after recovery. The findings from this study could help in the development of drugs that will target elevated cortisol levels, which could help to significantly reduce the chances of any relapse among individuals recovering from alcoholism. Further research is suggested into this area to help promote potential treatments.