Alcohol is the world’s oldest and most widely used drug. And above all other drugs, it is the favorite son. If you have any doubts about this, consider all the situations where drinking is acceptable and even encouraged. With how common drinking is, it’s no surprise that people wonder if alcohol is addictive or scratch their heads about why people become alcoholics.
Why Do People Become Alcoholics? – Read Some Common Reasons Now
For many, drinking alcohol will not lead to alcoholism. But why does this phenomenon happen to some and not others? The truth is that there are several factors that can increase the likelihood that a person will develop an alcohol addiction. Below are reasons why some become addicted to alcohol, while others don’t.
Drinking in Large Amounts: In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is defined by 2 standard drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women and research finds that the average American falls within this boundary. Over 5 percent of adult Americans engage in heavy drinking while 7 percent of adults fit the criteria of alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism. As we will discuss later, heavy alcohol consumption can rewire the brain. The percentage of the population that engages in heavy (or binge) drinking and the percentage of Americans that are alcoholics are eerily close. This suggests that while not all heavy drinkers become alcoholics many in fact do.
Starting at an Early Age:A survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that drinking at an early age is connected to alcohol addiction and dependence later in life.
Genetics:Ever wondered why alcoholism seems to run in families. Experts have scratched their heads for years on that fact. With the advent of modern genetics, however, scientists have isolated genes connected to addiction. GenesADH1B and ALDH2 for example, are believed to heavily contribute to substance abuse risk. It is also estimated that genetic make-up accounts for 40-60 percent of addiction risk.
Upbringing:Individuals with poor, inattentive parents or those who live with a family that have substance abuse issues(especially when combined with mental health problems)are at a higher risk for drug and alcohol addiction.
Mental Disorders:Those suffering from comorbid mental health disorders are at an increased risk of developing alcoholism. Mental disorders including personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are at the highest risk of developing substance use disorder.
Social and Economic Factors:The connection between poverty and addiction has long been established. Among alcoholics with lower socio-economic status and those who are unemployed or homeless, there is an increased risk in alcohol addiction and risk of death.
When people think about the stereotypical alcoholic, they usually imagine somebody who starts drinking in the morning and drinks themselves to sleep. But the reality is, that this is just one type of drinking behavior associated with alcoholism. Alcoholism is the most extreme kind of alcohol abuse. Those who become addicted to it consume it compulsively with little to no self-control. This is why despite the numerous negative consequences; most alcoholics will succumb to cravings and continue to drink. Additionally, alcoholism is a progressive disorder that over time can cause significant physical, neurological, and emotional changes to a person.
Signs of Alcoholism
Engages in binge drinking
Drinks until the black out
Drinks throughout the day
Often complains about being hungover
Drinking interferes with daily responsibilities
Experiences withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
Has strong urges or cravings to use alcohol
Has a high alcohol tolerance (Can drink large amounts without getting drunk)
Engages in illegal or risky actions such as driving drunk
Is unable to just have just one drink
Experiences lapses in memory
How Many People Die from AlcoholismEvery Year in US?
Within just an 8-year period (2006-2014) the amount of ER visits due to alcohol rose by 47 percent. Additionally, alcohol is the cause of death for 95,000 people annually.
How Addictive is Alcohol
You may have wondered if alcohol is as addictive as other substances. After all, alcohol is legal and many people consider legal drugs to be safer. But when considering other legal drugs such as nicotine or prescription opioids, this argument doesn’t hold water. In fact, Alcohol is very addictive with 1 in 12 American adults struggling with alcohol dependency or misuse. Consuming alcohol modifies the way the brain functions by increasing dopamine and manipulating other neurotransmitters in the brain. This interaction is what is responsible for the pleasurable and sedative effects of drinking and is also what keeps people hooked on drinking. But the benefits of alcohol eventually run dry. Those who become regular and heavy users will notice that they don’t feel great when they aren’t drinking. For one, excessive drinking depletes GABA stores in the brain leading to feelings of anxiousness, headaches, insomnia, and depression. Over excitation of the nervous system is just one serious aspect of alcohol withdrawals.
Best Way to Tackle Alcohol Addiction
In the same way that you can’t get addicted to alcohol from one drink, beating alcohol is a process that can take months or even years. The first step to quitting alcohol is Detox. A treatment that involves removing the presence alcohol and other drugs from the body. While this may sound simple, it is really anything but. Alcohol withdrawals can cause severe discomfort and in certain cases death. Therefore, the best way to detox from alcohol is to attend a medical inpatient detox program. Just as it is important to retrain the body to function without alcohol, it is also necessary to retrain the mind. While in rehabilitation, individuals develop the tools necessary to beat alcoholism, like psychotherapy, addiction education and relapse management skills.
Find Your Sobriety with Forward Recovery
Alcohol addiction doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Forward Recovery is a premier rehab and detox facility operating in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, call us at (844) 387-6889