The causes of alcoholism remain the subject of debate amongst doctors and psychologists, with many asking themselves “why am I the way I am? Why am I different from my friends and family?”
Alcohol dependency is a disease, and it doesn’t discriminate. It can affect you, regardless of your age, gender, body, personal beliefs or ethnicity.
Those who are vulnerable, struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief or trauma are particularly at risk.
If you’re suffering from alcoholism and feel as though your life has become difficult to manage, reach out – get some help.
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Alcohol dependence can progress aggressively, regardless of when or how your drinking problem started. However, there are various treatment options available to help you get your life back on track.
Start by taking a FREE alcoholism assessment today with a professional. If we can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can. Book yours now.
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Causes of an Alcohol Use Disorder
After prolonged periods of drinking, your brain will begin to rely on alcohol to produce certain, chemicals. This is why it can be very difficult for people to quit alcohol for good.
Many look at alcoholism as a genetic disease, whilst this might be true – it also demonstrates that trauma is a multi-generational family issue. For example, if your dad and granddad suffered from alcoholism, it might bypass you, but affect your siblings, who later need treatment for alcohol addiction.
However, in other families, addiction may have been present in an older family member but not present in any of the other generations. This is an example of trauma being solved which prevents it from being handed down.
Trauma is not black and white and can be impacted by various factors. The way you perceive a particular event will depend on the person you are, your sensibilities, your strengths, your self-esteem and your coping mechanisms.
- Biological Factors and Genetics/Family History
Extensive research has shown a link between alcoholism and biology (mostly genetics and physiology). More.
Some individuals will be able to limit the amount of alcohol they drink, whereas others will feel a stronger impulse to keep going. This would signify an issue with alcohol.
Alcohol can produce feelings of pleasure, which encourages the brain to keep drinking as it expects rewards. Repetitive behaviour of this kind can certainly make you more vulnerable and prone to developing a dependence on alcohol.
It has also been discovered that there are certain chemicals in the brain that can make you 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 means that particular family members can be more prone to drinking issues.
In more recent years, there have been newer studies exploring the connection between particular environmental settings and the risk of developing an AUD.
For example, your proximity to an alcohol retailer or bar can increase your chances of developing alcoholism. Those who live closer to alcohol establishments were found to have different and more positive outlooks on drinking.
This meant they were much more likely to participate in the activity.
Stressful environments are also major contributing factors, as people may turn to alcohol to relieve stress. Those with stressful jobs, for example, might use drinking as a source of relief.
- Social Circumstances
Culture, religion, family and career can influence many of your behaviours – including your drinking habits.
The family often plays the biggest role in the likelihood of someone developing alcoholism. This is especially true for children who had been exposed to alcohol during their early years, which may put them at greater risk of falling victim to dangerous drinking patterns.
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 relationships with those around you. So, here the desire to fit in, be liked and participate in activities you usually wouldn’t do can push you into drinking more.
When this turns into craving a drink after work, heading to the pub at lunchtime, or not passing up an evening out, this could be an early indicator or warning sign of alcohol abuse.
- Psychological Issues
It should be no news that different people deal with and handle situations in their own way. However, it’s important to remember 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 addiction, gambling addiction, love addiction or eating disorders.
This is because their brain is looking for a reward – for a stimulant to keep them distracted. Often, substances like alcoholism suppress feelings and provide temporary relief to psychological disorders in the short term.
If you find yourself turning to alcohol to ease your feelings of pain or hardship, then your body will get used to reacting this way and relying on the substance’s effects. More.
- Life events
Certain life events like bereavements, losing a job, financial issues or experiencing traumatic events have all been linked to alcohol addiction.
Similarly, untreated mental health conditions, stress and trauma can also cause individuals to perhaps self-medicate, which is 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 with your alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation. You can choose to either book a free addiction assessment, or call us for advice on the next steps.