Author: James Anderson

What Are the Causes of Alcoholism & Alcohol Abuse?

why do people become alcoholics

Women who drink during pregnancy run a serious risk of damaging their fetuses. Relatives, friends and strangers can be injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents and assaults. People with alcohol use disorders drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. Typically, a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder doesn’t require any other type of diagnostic test.

One is simply its rewarding consequences, such as having fun or escaping social anxiety. Having an impulsive personality plays into the decision to seek rewards despite negative repercussions. Another factor is stress, because alcohol can alleviate distressing emotions.

Drinking to Suppress Negative Emotions

They should emphasize linking different phases of care, such as connecting patients to mental health professionals, housing, and peer support groups when transitioning out of the acute phase of care. They should also have proactive strategies to avoid dropping out, involve the family in treatment, employ qualified and certified staff, and be accredited by an external regulatory organization. In fact, stress is a completely normal reaction that helps people cope with overwhelming events. However, if stress becomes chronic and someone doesn’t know how to cope with it, he or she may turn to alcohol for relief.

For example, alcohol causes increased release of “pleasure chemicals” in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. Those susceptible or predisposed to alcoholism may experience higher levels of pleasure compared to the average population. This can contribute to the hypothesis that alcohol is more addicting for some individuals than others.

See your doctor if you begin to engage in behaviors that are signs of alcohol use disorder or if you think that you may have a problem with alcohol. You should also consider attending a local AA meeting or participating in a self-help program such as Women for Sobriety. You can prevent alcohol use disorder by limiting your alcohol intake.

why do people become alcoholics

Drinking alcohol may result in temporary positive feelings and relaxation. People with poor drinking habits also have fewer brain cells than usual in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex. This means that while recovery is possible, a recovering alcoholic must work hard to beat the disease.

Risk Factors Associated with the Development of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Heavy drinking can cause physiological changes that make more drinking the only way to avoid discomfort. Individuals with alcohol dependence may drink partly to reduce or avoid withdrawal symptoms. For many people, drinking alcohol is nothing more than a pleasant way to relax. People with alcohol use disorders, however, drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. This question-and-answer fact sheet explains alcohol problems and how psychologists can help people recover. Alcohol use disorder develops when you drink so much that chemical changes in the brain occur.

  1. This part of the brain processes reward expectation and reward prediction errors.
  2. All of these factors that stem from drinking at an early age can increase a person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic.
  3. Experiencing at least two symptoms throughout the course of a year merits a diagnosis, from mild to moderate to severe.
  4. Ultimately this can lead to psychological or physical dependence upon alcohol.
  5. As anyone who has had even a glass of wine can attest, alcohol can have a noticeable influence on mood.
  6. Once you’re well enough to leave, you’ll need to continue to receive treatment on an outpatient basis.

If these drinking patterns become a habit, individuals may struggle to socialize with others without drinking or feel as though they need to drink in order to be accepted. All of these factors that stem from drinking at an early age can increase a person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic. All three of these therapies have demonstrated their effectiveness.

Why Do People Become Alcoholics?

Stressful life events, mental health disorders, peer pressure, easy access to alcohol, and normalization of heavy drinking can contribute to its development. Recognizing these factors can help address potential risks of alcohol use. A few empirically validated practices can help identify strong treatment programs. Treatment centers should ideally have rigorous and reliable screening for substance use disorders and related conditions. They should have an integrated treatment approach that addresses other mental and physical health conditions.

Unfortunately, people who become alcoholics often require professional treatment in order to recover. At Ohio Addiction Recovery Center, our highly trained addiction experts work closely with each client to provide the individualized treatment they need to recover. We’ll get down to the root causes of their drinking, help them heal from the past, and implement new behaviors that are conducive to recovery. If the drinking world is conceptualized as a spectrum, normal social drinking is one on end (a few drinks per month, almost always in a social context) and alcohol use disorder is on the other end. But there’s a large gray area in the middle, in which drinking can cause problems for someone’s health, job, or loved ones, but not to a clinical extent. An example would be a father who falls asleep on the couch after having several drinks three or four days a week, missing out on time with his kids and wife.

Unfortunately, drinking alcohol is a coping mechanism in which the long-term adverse effects significantly outweigh the temporary benefits. As people develop alcohol dependence, they normally experience urges or cravings for alcohol. This refers to a wide range of thoughts, physical sensations, or emotions that push you to drink, even if you do not want to. Several evidence-based treatment approaches are available for AUD. One size does not fit all and a treatment approach that may work for one person may not work for another. Treatment can be outpatient and/or inpatient and be provided by specialty programs, therapists, and health care providers.

In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy. But as you continue to drink, you become drowsy and have less control over your actions. Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal. Even after formal treatment ends, many people seek additional support through continued involvement in such groups. While some research suggests that small amounts of alcohol may have beneficial cardiovascular effects, there is widespread agreement that heavier drinking can lead to health problems.

There’s a chance your doctor may order blood work to check your liver function if you show signs or symptoms of liver disease. Scientists have suggested that alcohol dependence might be related to approximately 51 genes in different chromosome regions. If passed on from generation to generation, family members are more susceptible to developing drinking problems.