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Causes of Alcoholism

The causes of alcoholism are different for each addict. Similar to drug addiction, alcoholism is a serious problem that develops over a period of time. There are often a variety of factors that lead to a person’s problems with alcohol: genetic, emotional and social. Many times these factors overlap creating a strong urge in the person to turn to alcohol as a way to cope.

Genetic factors play a significant role in the causes of alcoholism. There is no denying that when addiction runs in a family, there is an increased chance of addictive tendencies in the upcoming generations. However, this is not an excuse. It is up to each and every person to take responsibility for their actions and choices. Alcoholics who come from parents, grandparents, etc. who had problems with alcohol consciously made the choice to experiment with drinking. There are many people who have alcoholism in their family and yet do not become alcoholics themselves. As of today, science has no way of predicting which person will choose to abuse alcohol and which person will choose to handle their problems in a healthier way.  If you come from a family with a history of alcoholism or addiction it is wise to be mindful of the choices you make regarding these issues. Addictive tendencies may take hold sooner than you can imagine and send you into the downward spiral of addiction.

The causes of alcoholism also include emotional issues i.e.: physical/sexual abuse and mental issues (depression, low self-esteem, bi-polar just to list a few). People who suffer or have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse will sometimes turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of numbing their internal pain. This coping strategy only works for so long before the alcohol begins to become a problem in their life, just like the abuse they are trying to escape from.

Mental issues such as depression will also cause people to turn to alcohol to feel better. Initially, they will feel somewhat better but as they continue to drink the depressive nature of alcohol takes over and will bring them down more than before they took their first drink. People who are bi-polar are very susceptible to turning to alcohol and other recreational and prescription drugs as a means of self-medicating. It is not uncommon for a person who is bi-polar to take a variety of prescription drugs in addition to consuming alcohol in an attempt to feel better or normal. Also, those who suffer with low self-esteem may turn to alcohol as a form of liquid courage. This is a double edged sword, as they continue to drink they will often participate in activities and say things that they would not have if they were sober.

Another factor in the causes of alcoholism is social and peer pressure. Some people begin drinking socially and gradually develop an abusive relationship with alcohol. What may have once been just drinks with friends becomes drinking at every social function and feeling the overwhelming urge to drink if alcohol is not part of the event. Peer pressure also leads to many peoples abuse of alcohol. In high school and college some young adults enjoy the attention they get when they drink and brag about holding their liquor. This is a slippery slope as it can lead them to develop dangerous drinking habits and a reliance on alcohol as a means of social interaction. As time goes by they will not have developed the skills necessary to feel comfortable interacting with others socially without having a drink in their hand.

 As you see, there are many factors that play a part in the development of a person’s struggles with alcohol. No matter if it is one of the above mentioned factors or maybe something unique and personal to the alcoholic themselves, the causes of alcoholism all have the same outcome. A person who relies on alcohol suffers physically, emotionally and socially because of their addiction.

 There is not one person who suffers with alcoholism on the planet who said to themselves, I think I want to become an alcoholic. It is something that took place over a period of time and a lot of poor choices along the way. Initially, they turned to alcohol as a means of coping with whatever factors or issues were in their life. As they continued to turn to alcohol to solve their problems or make them feel better their mind and body began to expect alcohol on a regular basis. When this happens the person no longer feels that they have a choice whether to take the drink or not, their body is telling them that they HAVE to take the drink to function. And their tragic downward spiral into alcoholism begins.

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  • Alcohol Facts
  • More than 2 million Americans suffer from alcohol-related liver disease.
  • Alcohol-related crashes killed 2,206 youth in 1995, reflecting 36 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the age group.
  • Although most States set the BAC limit for adults who drive after drinking at 0.08 percent, driving skills are affected at much lower levels.
  • During 2001, 17,448 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, representing 41% of all traffic-related deaths.