Many people may wonder what the root cause of alcohol addiction is. However, there is no easy answer. There are certain factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing an addiction. Alcoholism is also referred to as alcohol use disorder and attracts the pleasure centers of the brain. When a person regularly drinks alcohol, their brain will begin to associate the drinks with things like loss of inhibitions, relaxation, euphoria, and more. Many alcoholics end up developing cravings and even dependency.
Causes of Alcoholism
Alcohol can trigger a person’s brain to release dopamine, which can create positive feelings and may make them crave more alcohol. It also affects serotonin, which affects a person’s mood and sleep. As a person begins to drink more alcohol, they will begin to develop a tolerance to it and may experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop drinking. Alcoholics that drink heavy tend to drink more to try to keep their withdrawal symptoms at bay.
Early signs of problem drinking can be subtle in the beginning. For example, a person may start off prioritizing different things that involve alcohol which can eventually lead to a shift in their relationships and daily routine.
As a person’s drinking habits become more routine, they may notice changes in their energy, mood, and sleeping patterns. They may also begin to develop a loss of interest in activities which can be an early warning sign of alcohol abuse. For many people, this is seen as the tipping point since their increase in alcohol increases to help reduce the challenge they are experiencing.
Risks for Alcoholism
There are certain risk factors that can make a person more likely to become addicted to alcohol including:
- Family history & genetics- If you have a family member or parent that suffers from alcohol addiction, your risk will increase. Studies have shown that genes are responsible for half of the risk for alcoholism. This study is according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Frequent drinking- Drinking alcohol too much, or binge drinking can cause addiction as well.
- Drinking underage- If you begin drinking alcohol before reaching the age of 15, you are four times more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol later in life.
- Social factors- Family and social customs, poor parental support, peer pressure, and culture can also play a role in the development of alcohol addiction.
- Trauma history- Past traumatic experiences such as childhood abuse are related to developing alcohol addiction later on in life.
- Male gender- Men are more likely than women to become alcohol addicts. This fact was proven in the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This study found that 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women in the U.S. had an alcohol addiction.
- Mental health issues- Mental illnesses such as bipolar and depression can increase a person’s risk of becoming dependent on alcohol, especially if it is being used to self-medicate.
There are various rehab centers such as Impact Recovery Center (https://impactrecoverycenter.net/) that can treat alcohol dependency via a combination of programs including:
- Inpatient programs
- Behavioral therapies
- Social support
However, you may want to start off by seeking help from your primary physician. They can then refer you to a specialist for rehab treatment. Alcoholism treatment depends on the individual. There is no single way to achieve and maintain recovery. Successful treatment consists of professional treatment and peer-support groups. Treatment also consists of medical detox and a support system.