What Causes Alcoholism?
There is great debate about the reasons for alcoholism and what causes it. It boils down to the question “why am I the way I am?” or “why am I different from my friends and family?”
Often one sibling in a family will be addicted to a substance, but the others live completely free of addiction. There are however factors that occur regularly in the background of many alcoholics and these undoubtedly have a strong influence on a person’s future behaviour.
1. Nature or nurture?
Most experts believe that alcohol addiction is a disease. With enough emotional pain, anyone will turn to drink. For some, this will progress to addictive behaviour and this will happen without regard to age, gender, body type, personal beliefs or ethnicity.
Addiction appears to seek out the vulnerable, those struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief or trauma But it can also claim those who are robust in body, mind and spirit. It has been seen as “the curse of the strong.”
Free alcohol addiction assessment: If you think you may be suffering from alcoholism and just don’t feel like yourself anymore, reach out – get some help.
Here are six common factors that are often found in the histories of people seeking help for their alcoholism.
It would be too easy to say that these factors alone are responsible for a person becoming an alcoholic. Indeed, it is a vital part of recovery that one takes responsibility for one’s addiction rather than seeking to blame it on some outside influence.
Nevertheless, it can be important to recognise and address any of these issues that may apply and at Castle Craig Hospital this will be a part of treatment.
2. Hereditary Factors
Many people believe that alcoholism is a genetic disease and is hereditary. Whilst this might sometimes be the case, there may be other considerations too Such as trauma can sometimes be a multi-generational family issue. Again, if your dad and granddad were alcoholics, it might bypass you but affect your siblings, who may later need treatment for alcohol addiction.
However just because addiction is in your genetic makeup does not mean you are predestined to develop an addiction yourself, end of story. It simply means that people in your family have shown a predisposition to react/cope with difficult life events by using substances.
At the very least, this should put you on guard. It does not mean that your family are somehow ‘bad people’ but it might mean their brains contain less dopamine than normal. More.
However, in other families, addiction may have been present in an older family member but does not re-occur. There is no certainty here. This can be seen as an example of a lack of traumatic events. Read can alcoholics drink casually.
3. Biological Factors and Genetics/Family History
Extensive research has shown a link between alcoholism and biology (mostly genetics and physiology).
Some individuals will be able to limit the amount of alcohol that they drink, whereas some others will feel a stronger impulse to keep going. This would signify an issue with alcohol.
Alcohol gives off feelings of pleasure, which encourages the brain to keep repeating the behaviour as it expects rewards. People who repeat the behaviour to get the pleasure, especially at an early age, become prone to developing alcoholism dependencies.
It has also been discovered that there are certain chemicals in the brain that can make certain people more susceptible to alcohol abuse in the first place.
Scientists have found 51 genes within various chromosome regions that can be passed down through the generations – which indicates that some family members might be more liable to addiction.
4. Environmental and Social Considerations
In more recent years, there have been newer studies exploring the connection between environmental settings and the risk of developing alcohol addiction. More.
- Proximity to an alcohol retailer or bar can affect your chances more greatly of alcoholism. Those who live closer to alcohol establishments were found to have different and more positive outlooks on drinking.
- People who are students or have hard-drinking friends often drink more.
- Being male means your drink more.
- Being outgoing or more sociable can lead to heavy drinking habits.
- Stressful environments are also factors as people may turn to alcohol for relief. Those with stressful jobs, for example, might be encouraged to drink more heavily.
All of the above means they were much more likely to participate in drinking and be at least around more alcohol. However, it does not explain why one person is a heavy drinker and another who may drink less or for different reasons is an alcoholic.
5. Other Social Circumstances
Culture, religion, family and career can influence many of your choices and behaviours – and this can include your drinking habits.
The family dynamic often plays the biggest role in the likelihood of someone developing alcoholism.
This is especially true for children who had been exposed to alcohol abuse early in their development years, which can put them at a higher risk of falling victim to dangerous drinking patterns themselves.
If your parents teach you that if you have a problem take a pill or a drink then this can be an obvious red flag.
When you begin university, start a new job or move to a new area, you are also more susceptible to alcoholism. This is because during these times you are looking to meet new people and develop friendships. The desire to fit in, be liked and participate in activities you usually would avoid, can result in you drinking more.
When this turns into craving a drink after work, heading regularly to the pub at lunchtime, or never missing an evening out, this might be an indicator or warning sign of alcohol abuse.
6. Psychological Issues
Different people handle situations in their own way, but it’s important to bear in mind that how you cope with your feelings will impact certain behavioural traits.
For example, those suffering from anxiety or depression are more likely to develop alcoholism, take drugs or develop other addictions like gaming, gambling, love addiction or eating disorders. This is because their brain is looking for a reward or simply some relief.
Poor mental health is stressful. Often, substances like alcoholism suppress feelings and provide temporary relief to psychological disorders in the short term.
If you turn to alcohol to ease your feelings of pain or hardship, then your body will get used to reacting in this way and will start to rely on the substance’s effects. More.
7. Trauma and Life events
Certain life events like bereavements, losing a job, financial issues or experiencing violent traumatic events have all been linked to the development of alcohol addiction. People with no family history of alcoholism can find themselves in treatment. from normal drinking habits into uncontrollable drinking.
Same trauma, different belief systems
Trauma itself is not black and white. Its effects are impacted by different factors. It depends on the person you are, your sensibilities, your strengths, your position in the community and the family, your self-esteem and the coping mechanisms that you may have already learnt.
People respond to the same trauma in a variety of ways.
Similarly, untreated stress and trauma surrounding major events can cause individuals to self-medicate, which can be the beginning of a long and harmful addiction battle.
What to do next
If you are struggling to stop drinking, then let us help you assist you with your alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation. You can choose to either book a free addiction assessment, or just have a chat with us now.
Other Alcoholism help
- Levels of Alcoholism
- Secret Drinking
- Alcoholism Facts
- Functional Alcoholism
- Recovery From Alcoholism
- The Price of Alcoholism
- Google Scholar articles on causes of alcoholism