Causes of Alcoholism
The misuse of alcohol is one of the most concerning issues that society faces. It is a behavioural pattern that is harmful to the person affected by alcoholism and harmful to their loved ones.
Once a person has begun to experience negative consequences in many areas of their life as a result of their drinking, it can be classed as alcohol misuse. Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is the result of drinking to the point that you become dependent on alcohol and suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit.
For people that are affected by alcoholism, consuming alcohol becomes the primary focus of life. The resulting consequences can include damage to one’s health, personal relationships, and career, among other areas.
When a person suffers from alcoholism, they might see the damage that their drinking is causing and want to quit but they find themselves unable to do so for a variety of reasons that include alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
With these points in mind, there are some important facts to know about the causes of alcoholism.
What Are the Specific Causes of Alcoholism?
When the topic of alcoholism comes up, many people’s first question is simply to ask what causes it. The truth about this question is that there is not a definitive answer at the current time.
Coming to a singular answer to the causes of alcoholism is difficult as the individual risk factors that different people experience play a role in the development of the problem.
What is known is that it is a problem that develops from the consumption of too large a quantity of alcohol. This generally occurs over a long period of time. The length of time that it can take for different individuals to become dependent on alcohol can vary quite significantly.
During that time, chemical changes occur within the brain that can lead to the individual wanting to consume increasingly large amounts of alcohol. Over time, a person affected by alcoholism will begin to drink simply to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal rather than for the enjoyment of the act.
Though these are factors that are known about alcoholism, the specific cause can not be definitively stated. What is strongly established are the primary risk factors that can put a person in danger of becoming a person affected by alcoholism.
The Primary Risk Factors for Alcoholism
The exact causes of alcoholism are hard to lock down because they can vary from one individual to another but there are key risk factors that are known to increase your chance of developing an addiction to alcohol.
These alcoholism risk factors include:
- You began drinking alcohol at an early age
- You regularly engage in binge drinking
- You have faced peer pressure to continue to drink
- You suffer from low self-esteem
- You have issues with being impulsive
- You come from a background of economic hardship
- You have undergone bariatric surgery
- You are a victim of physical abuse
- You are a victim of sexual abuse
- You come from a family background where alcoholism has been a problem
- You are going through a hard time emotionally and use alcohol to cope
These are some of the primary risk factors that can increase your chance of developing an addiction to alcohol. For those that recognise that they have a problem, it is important to quickly seek help.
For most people affected by alcoholism, it is necessary to enter into a programme that is guided by addiction treatment professionals. These dedicated professionals can help you to get to the bottom of your issues with addiction so that you can work toward recovery.
Genetics and Alcoholism
There is a growing amount of research that suggests that an individual’s genetics can be one of their primary risk factors for developing problems with alcohol misuse. The current research suggests that there is a genetic component involved with addiction.
Studies have shown that individuals that come from families with a history of alcohol misuse are at a higher risk of having problems in their own lives. It is important to note that environmental factors represent one of the most significant risks when it comes to developing problems with alcohol.
It is common for individuals who grew up in an environment where alcohol was misused to fall into similar patterns themselves but the evidence suggests that the risk goes deeper than environmental factors and can include a strong genetic component as well.
Genetic factors can represent as much as 50% of an individual’s risk for developing a problem with the misuse of alcohol.
Consequences of Alcoholism
Addiction to alcohol carries with it some significant consequences that help to add emphasis to the importance of understanding the causes of alcoholism. There is a wide variety of different consequences that people affected by alcoholism can end up facing.
Some of them involve their financial and legal well-being while others involve personal relationships and long-term health. The primary consequences of alcoholism include:
- Decreased work performance
- Decreased performance at school
- An increased probability of engaging in risky and dangerous behaviours such as driving under the influence of alcohol
- Difficulty maintaining quality relationships with family, friends, and partners
- An increase in the risk of suicide
- Recurrent and costly legal problems
- An increased risk of engaging in dangerous sexual behaviours such as unprotected intercourse
- An increased risk of heart disease
- An increased risk of liver, bowel, breast, and mouth cancer
- An increased risk of stroke
- An increased risk of liver disease
- An increased risk of pancreatitis
- Alcoholism can cause digestive problems
- Alcohol use increases the risk of complications for diabetics
- Alcoholism can cause problems with sexual function
- The use of alcohol during pregnancy can result in issues ranging from miscarriage to birth defects and fetal alcohol syndrome
- Long-term alcohol use can cause damage to the eyes
- Long-term alcohol use can significantly weaken the immune system
- Alcohol can have dangerous side-effects when combined with some medications
- Long-term neurological issues can be caused by excessive alcohol use
These are the short and long-term consequences that people affected by alcoholism can face as a result of their addiction issues. These facts are another piece of solid evidence toward the importance of seeking help through a residential alcohol rehab programme.
The health and personal consequences of alcoholism can cause a heavy burden on the individual suffering from the addiction and they also place a burden on the loved ones of the person affected by alcoholism.
Today’s addiction treatment professionals can make a dramatic difference for those that come to terms with the fact that they are addicted to alcohol and need help.
Steps That Can Be Taken to Combat the Causes of Alcoholism
There are some steps that an individual’s friends, family, or partner can do to intervene early if they have become worried that their loved one has an alcohol addiction. It is important to look out for specific warning signs that are indicators that your loved one is developing a problem with alcohol.
These signs include:
- They suffer from frequent mood changes
- They often get defensive when asked about their drinking
- You notice they often have slurred speech and red eyes. You might also notice that their coordination is off or that they have a difficult time remembering things
- They seem to have lost interest in taking care of themself or engaging in activities
These are a few of the warning signs that your loved one might be moving toward a dangerous addiction to alcohol. It is important to encourage your loved ones to seek help when you notice these types of signs.
At the same time, it is important to remember that they will have to come to terms with their addiction and admit it to themself before anyone will be able to help them.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment If You Suffer From the Causes of Alcoholism
If you suffer from alcoholism, you need to remember that you are not alone. There is help available for you in the form of alcohol rehab programmes. These programmes are administered by highly trained, knowledgeable, and caring professionals that want to see you get better.
If your drinking has gotten to the point where you feel that you are no longer in control, it is time to seek help. Some of the key indicators that you need help include multiple attempts to give up drinking that were unsuccessful and experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you are unable to drink.
If you feel compelled to drink every day and it has caused serious harm to your life and health, then today is the perfect time to reach out to the professionals that can help you.
Two Primary Treatment Models
Two primary alcohol rehab treatment models can help individuals to figure out the causes of alcoholism concerning their own lives. These are the inpatient/residential rehab model and the outpatient rehab model.
The residential model is the option that is generally recommended as it has the best track record for long-term success but both models can prove beneficial to individuals that are committed to getting sober.
While the causes of alcoholism often vary from one individual to another due to varying risk factors, the result is an addiction that can negatively impact the individual’s life.
This fact helps to reinforce the importance of getting help. If you have recently admitted that you do have a problem with alcohol, you should speak to your GP today so that you can be assessed.
Your doctor can help you to decide on what kind of treatment will be the best option for your specific circumstances. There is help out there for you as you work toward recovery.
The Alcohol Rehab Process Really Does Work
The good news is that the alcohol rehab process really does work. Regardless of how bad your problem with alcohol abuse is, trained addiction treatment professionals can help you. Alcohol rehab has a strong track record of success in helping people to achieve recovery.