What Are Some Causes of Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol is incredibly addictive. People from every state, every country and every continent struggle with alcoholism. People old and young, impoverished and rich, and everyone in between is susceptible to struggles with alcohol addiction. It is these diverse demographics of those who struggle with alcohol abuse that makes it instructive to learn about the possible causes. This article will explore some possible causes of alcohol abuse, but make sure to note that each individual has life experiences and unique circumstances that may lead to alcohol abuse, so this is by no means an exhaustive or all encompassing list.
Some Possible Causes of Alcoholism
Alcoholism has no simple root cause. It is a confluence of factors that all contribute to alcohol abuse. Researchers and scientists are still devoting countless hours to try to determine exactly what may make a person turn to alcohol, but this is an ever evolving field with no concrete answer at this point. With that in mind, here are some possible causes and determining factors when it comes to alcoholism.
Having a drink at the end of the day is a very common indulgence. Sometimes a day at work or with the family can have you on edge all day, and the only solace you can find is in a glass of your favorite adult beverage. This is normal, however what happens if work or your personal life is stressful 24/7? What happens when a temporary escape with alcohol becomes a full on vacation from reality? That is when alcoholism can become an issue.
Drinking at an Early Age
Studies have found that the earlier you start drinking alcohol, the more likely you are to have a drinking problem. On a few levels, this makes sense. If you start drinking at a younger age, you may over time develop a stronger tolerance to alcohol. This tolerance can lead to more binge drinking, which in time makes you susceptible to alcohol addiction. However, this can be misleading because oftentimes people who drink alcohol at an early age may already be more prone to alcoholism because of the other causes mentioned in this article.
Mental Health Problems
Many mental health disorders have been shown to increase the risk of alcohol consumption and addiction. Some of these mental illnesses include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In these cases alcohol is used to repress feeling of depression or anxiety with alcohol, and gradually this “self-medication” can turn to addiction. Alcohol addiction can oftentimes exacerbate the effects of these mental illnesses, only making things worse when they are in fact trying to make things better.
Family History and Genetics
Having someone close to you suffer from alcoholism can be a future cause of problems with alcohol. This can be explained by three different factors.
1. The first is genetics. Research is still being conducted to find the specific link between genetics and alcoholism. The heritability of alcohol dependence is well recognized and heritability estimates range between 40-70%. Therefore, if someone in your family suffers from alcoholism, it is more likely you have a genetic predisposition to having an issue yourself.
2. The second factor is environment. If you have a family member who has a drinking problem, you likely have access to alcohol at a younger age and are constantly surrounded by it. This makes it easier to drink at a young age, which is a cause of alcoholism in of itself (see above).
3. The final factor is modeling behavior based on the behavior of role models. When children are young they are very susceptible to influence by role models, and will oftentimes model the behavior they see from parents and siblings. Therefore, a child may see an alcoholic behavior as regular behavior and follow that same behavior at a later stage in life.
Alcoholism Treatment With Clinical Research Studies
If you live in San Diego and regularly drink alcohol, the Pearson Center can use your help. The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research is currently running two different research studies at our La Jolla location. First, we are offering a study that will help treat alcoholics for those who are looking for assistance overcoming alcohol addiction. The second study is for those who drink alcohol but are not seeking rehab or treatment. Contact us today by calling (858) 784-7867.