Alcohol abuse is real and can be highly crippling once it develops into a full-blown alcohol dependency. Like other addictions, alcoholism is influenced and caused by a string of factors. Something you should know is that alcoholism does not discriminate at all—it can befall upon anyone regardless of their gender, ethnicity, age, and body type. This is why it is important to educate yourself on the harmful impacts of alcohol addiction.
Dependence on alcohol can become a problem over time, but can also quickly develop within a short period of use. Fortunately, alcohol dependence can be easily managed and treated with proper care and effort. Getting professional help is highly encouraged due to its higher success rates in achieving prolonged sobriety.
If you are currently struggling with alcohol dependence or know of anyone suffering from it, rest assured that help is within reach. Contact your nearest rehab facility on the available treatment and resources that will be helpful in the path to sobriety.
What causes alcoholism?
As mentioned above, alcohol dependency can form as a result of several factors and/or a combination of them. One of the common causes is the brain’s reliance on alcohol to produce certain essential chemicals. This reliance makes it hard for habitual drinkers to quit drinking completely and even experience disorientating withdrawal symptoms. There are also other prominent causes including but not limited to biological, social, environmental, and psychological factors.
Our genetics and physiology may play a part in our alcoholism as proven by research. Some of us can better resist consuming alcohol, while some easily succumb to the allure of alcohol. Specifically for certain people, simply consuming alcohol causes their brain to send out waves of pleasure, hence reinforcing drinking as a fun and positive activity for them. Having such a trait makes them much more susceptible to developing alcoholism as compared to their peers who lack it.
Some specific chemicals in some of our brains make some of us more vulnerable to developing alcoholism. Researchers have identified that alcoholism may be associated with up to 51 genes in our various chromosome regions. Those who inherit such genes in their family may have a higher chance to turn to alcohol abuse at some point in their lives.
The culture and perception of alcohol in your environment can shape one’s views of alcohol. As such, there is some convincing evidence that shows that those who live in close proximity to alcohol joints have a positive perception towards drinking and are more likely to drink regularly. This in turn increases their chances of developing alcoholism.
In fact, popular media and advertisement in recent years have successfully rebranded drinking as a fun and social activity that can be done with friends. Unassuming consumers may not be aware of the potential dangers indulging in such activities. From 1971 to 2011, alcohol adverts skyrocketed by more than 400 percent, indicative of how our society has already started to embrace drinking as a lifestyle.
Income also has a part to play. Affluent and well-to-do families are actually more susceptible to developing alcoholism due to their higher spending power to splurge on alcohol. It is advisable to keep tabs on alcohol spending even if you can afford it to prevent yourself from developing alcohol abuse.
Similar to the environment, how your social circle interacts with drinking and alcohol can bleed into your own perception and involvement with the substance. The key players are definitely one’s family, work, culture, and religion. In fact, the family is said to be the most influential factor causing one to develop alcohol dependence. Children and youths who have early exposure to alcohol abuse are likely to fall into the pit of alcohol dependency as they mature.
Being in a new and foreign environment such as starting college or a new job also puts one at a greater risk of developing alcoholism. Our desire to fit in and assimilate with the new environment may cause us to make less than desirable actions to seem cool or to portray a certain persona. Those who are unable to properly manage themselves may get into the routine of grabbing drinks regularly which puts them right into the at-risk zone.
Everyone’s coping mechanism differs vastly. However, some of us, owing to preexisting conditions such as anxiety and/or depression, may not make the best decisions and choose alcohol as a way to cope. Alcohol is used by these people to relieve them of their other conditions but ironically brings them another detrimental condition which puts them in a worse position than they are initially.
Some of these sufferers are not cognizant of the devastating effects of alcohol and they often overestimate their body’s ability to cope with their alcohol intake and dependency. After some time, their body develops resistance and tolerance for alcohol and they may find that they need to drink more before they can relieve their symptoms as opposed to the past. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse that they have to deal with.
For those suffering from mental health conditions can develop a co-occurring alcohol abuse will result in irreversible damages to their body. It is recommended that they visit separate specialists to specifically treat their different issues.
Common alcoholism risk factors include drinking at an early age, having a family history with alcohol addiction, experiencing high levels of stress, and prolonged consumption of alcohol. Although these risk factors serve as a form of a general guideline, should you fall into multiple categories, it is recommended that you talk with a medical health professional on how you can prevent alcoholism from taking root in your life.
Achieving sobriety is no easy task, and maintaining it is even harder. There are many factors at play that can cause one to relapse despite their better judgment.
However, relapsing is part-and-parcel of the long battle against alcohol abuse. It also doesn’t mean that you have failed. It is important that family and friends remain supportive and do not guilt-trip their loved ones when they do relapse.
If you know of anyone who is battling alcohol abuse or a relapse, remain encouraging and positive in their efforts. It is also best to push them to seek professional help if they have not done so they can receive more targeted help that will put them into the path to sobriety.