Causes And Risk Factors Of Alcoholism: Common Warning Signs
Alcoholism is a serious disease with numerous negative repercussions. The negative effects are not limited to the patient but rather extend to the people around them. As such, it helps to be aware of the causes and risk factors that premeditate alcoholism. This is because early detection is key for its effective treatment.
Risk Factors For Alcoholism
The patient’s family history is incredibly influential. The family members and their habits have the power to mold and influence the patient’s actions. As such, constantly interacting with a family member who is an alcoholic increases the likelihood of a person becoming one. This is because the environment a person grows up in is just as influential as genetics in terms of determining future traits. Growing up with people who resort to drinking all the time will change your perception of and your relationship with alcohol, whether you realize it or not.
Genetic research on alcoholism also revealed that people with long lines of alcoholics in their families eventually translate into inheritable DNA. This means that the genetic trait can be passed to their offspring and makes them react differently to alcohol. The alcoholic gene may make you have a higher tolerance for alcohol or experience more cravings than any normal person would.
Stress remains to be one of the most common risk factors for potential alcoholics. Stress affects the brain chemistry through cortisol and other stress hormones. People with more intense jobs, higher school workloads, or poor intrapersonal relationships are more stressed and are therefore more likely to resort to alcohol as a coping mechanism.
It may start with grabbing drinks at the end of the day as a way to de-stress. If left unchecked, it can easily develop into a habit. Over time, one may feel the inability to relax or function without alcohol, and that is when it gets classified as alcoholism.
Mental health issues
Most alcoholics suffer from some form of mental illness. These are called co-occurring disorders and some of the most common mental illnesses seen among patients include the following:
· Borderline personality disorder
· Eating disorder
· Post-traumatic stress disorder
· Bipolar disorder
· Panic disorder
The reason why patients with mental illnesses are more likely to become alcoholics is that these people often try to self-medicate with alcohol. As such, the best treatment is a dual diagnosis in which all mental health problems are addressed. Treating alcoholism and their mental issues simultaneously ensures that the root cause of alcoholism is targeted. Otherwise, a person will be stuck in the cycle of using alcohol to alleviate any discomfort they experience from their mental health issues. Failure to address these mental illnesses may also increase the likelihood of relapsing.
Drinking alcohol frequently
Alcohol is an inevitable part of social situations. Most adults drink as they hang out with friends, celebrate occasions, or even as a nightcap. However, if a person starts consuming more than the recommended amount of alcohol for adults (which is no more than 14 units of alcohol per week), then this drinking habit may become a risk factor and may also result in negative health consequences.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism released a guideline on the recommended alcoholic consumption for the average adult. The people who are at a greater risk of becoming alcoholics are women who have four or more drinks a day and men who have five or more drinks a day. The recommended consumption is only one to two drinks each day.
Additionally, binge drinking is also a risk factor. Binge drinking is described as the excessive consumption of alcohol in a short period of time. Binge drinking may be triggered by certain environments. For example, if you are in a college environment where parties are frequent and last for long hours, then you may begin binge drinking. Other people also binge drink when they are uncomfortable in social situations and they use alcohol as a crutch to let go of their inhibitions and shyness.
History of substance abuse
Although drugs and alcohol are two very different things, they have a similar effect. People may turn to these substances for relief or to escape their realities for a while. A history of substance abuse is a risk factor since these recovering addicts may seek something to replace drugs. This is precisely the reason why recovering alcoholics and drug addicts are advised to stay clear of both alcohol and drugs. Complete sobriety is essential for a successful recovery.
If you are worried that someone you know or love is at risk of becoming an alcoholic, then it is time to seek professional help. These risk factors will help you identify a person’s likelihood of developing alcoholism as soon as possible. Early detection is beneficial for a speedy response and treatment before the situation worsens. Contact R&R Recovery today for more information and assistance.