ALCOHOL ADDICTION CAUSES
What causes alcoholism? Is it a genetic predisposition? Or is it psychological factors? Learn more about alcohol addiction causes.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction in the United States is on the rise. It is estimated that twenty-three million Americans are addicted to alcohol, with nearly 6,000 people turning to alcohol addiction treatment centers for help each day. Studies show there is no single cause for alcohol addiction but a range of risk factors, including biological factors and peer pressure. Read on to learn the most common alcohol addiction causes that you need to know about.
Alcohol addiction is defined as “a chronic relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive alcohol use despite harmful consequences.” Alcohol addiction, also known as “alcohol use disorder,” can affect aspects of life such as interpersonal relationships, family life, mental health, and employment.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol can alter the brain’s chemistry, so a person with an alcohol addiction may not be able to control their actions. Individuals with alcoholism often drink excessively or binge drink regularly. Continued drinking leads to deteriorating physical and mental health, family problems, financial difficulties, and legal problems. Alcohol addiction can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity.
Some symptoms that may indicate alcohol addiction include:
The important thing to know about alcoholism is that it is not just a physical addiction. It also has psychological effects on an individual’s mental state and can lead to other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
What Are the Causes of Alcohol Addiction?
According to scientific evidence, alcoholism is a complex genetic disease that runs in families. Studies suggest that around 45-65% of the liability is due to genetic factors. This number was confirmed by several adoption studies that showed that alcoholism in adopted children correlates more strongly with the children’s biological parents than their adoptive parents. Some of the genes that are known to contribute to the risk for alcoholism are ADH1B and ALDH2.1
Even though biological factors play a vital part in the development of alcohol addiction, other alcoholism causes, such as environmental and social factors, greatly influence the outcome.
People with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders are more likely to develop alcohol addiction. According to studies, around one-third of people dealing with major depression also suffer from alcohol disorders.3 Around 20% of people with a social anxiety disorder also deal with alcohol addiction.4
People dealing with mental health issues turn to alcohol use to alleviate the negative symptoms of their illness. For example, people with social anxiety need alcohol to feel comfortable in social situations. People suffering from depression turn to alcohol to temporarily reduce their anxiety and lower inhibitions.
Lack of Family Supervision
Drinking History Factors
Across different religions, people who see their religion as promoting abstinence are less likely to drink alcohol. Around 51% of US adults who attend religion services at least once a month reported drinking alcohol in the past thirty days.
Only 13% of monthly churchgoers engaged in recent binge drinking. To compare, 76% of agnostics reported drinking alcohol in the past thirty days, and 33% engaged in binge drinking.10
Known Specific Risk Factors
How Do Different Risk Factors Affect Treatment and Relapse?
Treatment for alcohol addiction is always possible, regardless of how many risk factors you or your loved one is exposed to. Even if you are genetically prone to alcohol addiction, you can still obtain long-term sobriety with proper treatment and support.
The most essential thing is to know your alcoholism risk factors, how they influence your relapse, and how you can attempt to avoid one. Knowing these aspects will help you understand how alcohol addiction affects the body and mind. With understanding comes empowerment, which allows you to take control of your life. Understanding your risk factors will allow you to take the necessary steps to recover from this addiction.
Many treatment options are available for alcohol addiction, including medical detox, inpatient programs, and outpatient programs. Medical detox can be critical in some scenarios, especially if you are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.
How Can You Prevent Alcoholism?
Alcoholics often surround themselves with friends and family members who drink heavily to keep themselves in denial. Surrounding yourself with non-drinkers may help you identify the signs of alcoholism or get an honest opinion when you need help. Stay away from social media groups or family members who try to convince you that your alcohol intake is normal or acceptable.
How Is Alcoholism Treated?
Detoxification or Withdrawal
Detoxification therapy aims to relieve withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, tremors, and seizures to restore balance in the body. It can range from several days to several weeks, depending on what type of treatment is needed. Alcohol detoxification can be done while remaining in a hospital or through outpatient care at home or other locations.
Social support affects the likelihood of successful alcohol treatment outcomes. Drinking alcohol is a coping mechanism for many people, and social support can act as a buffer to help prevent relapse after treatment. Some of the ways you can use social support to deal with alcohol use are through online communities and peer-to-peer support groups.