It’s important for alcoholics to take responsibility for their actions, and there aren’t any “excuses” for the things that people do when they’re drunk, or for why someone may have a harder time with alcohol than somebody else, but there are some causes of alcoholism that can make certain people more susceptible to this addiction than other people.
Are any of these alcoholism causes relevant to your life? If you’re a drinking, and you think back, can you relate to many of these things?
Not everybody who struggles with alcoholism will have the same origin stories or the same life circumstances, so this isn’t a blueprint that defines everyone with a drinking problem, but it can provide some insights.
If you could know that you’re at a higher risk for alcoholism, would that impact the way you interact with alcohol? Would you avoid drinking altogether to ensure that you don’t become addicted? Or would you think “Oh, okay, well it was inevitable, so I might as well drink…”?
Alcoholism in the Family or Home
Are there alcoholics in your family? This can be an indicator that you’re more prone to alcoholism than the average person may be. If you aren’t struggling with alcohol, and you’re able to maintain a healthy relationship with drinking, just keep in mind that if there’s a history of alcohol addiction in your family, you need to be extra mindful not to let things slip out of your control.
It’s believed that living with an alcohol like a parent or a sibling, or even a roommate, can make you more prone to having drinking problems yourself. In the case of family members, it’s believe that there is a genetic element at play, that leaves some individuals more susceptible to addiction. It’s also believed that there is an element of your environment that influences this as well, for instance in the case of a roommate.
Whether it’s genetic or just based on your surroundings, if you live with an alcoholic or if people in your family have a history of alcoholism, then you could be at a greater risk of running into problems with your own alcohol usage. Be mindful and cautious, because it gets harder and harder to quit.
Traumatic Experiences or Mental Health Struggles Can Lead to Alcoholism
Research has suggested that people who are diagnosed with a variety of mental health problems may also be more susceptible to alcoholism. Sometimes, people use alcohol as a way to cope, which is the case with many people who have mental health struggles and also drink too much.
Being a survivor of trauma can also lead to alcoholism, as alcohol can serve as a coping mechanism who doesn’t have other ways to cope with what they’ve lived through, or just isn’t in a place to use them effectively. Sometimes, people drink alcohol to forget, and in the case of trauma survivors, it’s understandable why they would use whatever tool they can find, as it can be incredibly difficult to work through these types of things. The problem is that alcoholism leads to a variety of different harms, it’s a step in the wrong direction towards healing, and it can make the road that much rockier.
Stress or Hectic Life Events
Sometimes, life just feels crazy. When someone is going through a tough time, they might lean on alcohol to help them deal with it, even if it’s not a healthy way to deal with something. Drinking can be a temporary relief for stress, but it can have short and long term consequences that lead to so, so much more stress.
The best thing that you can do for yourself, if you always find yourself drinking to deal with life’s challenges, is to find a different way to cope with things, because there are other ways to deal with the causes of alcoholism that don’t lead to their own series of negative outcomes.
Drinking Leads to Alcoholism
The more you drink, the more you’re increasing your risks of developing alcoholism. This last one might sound a bit cheeky, but it checks out.
A study by NIH reveals that men and women who have 4-5 drinks a day, or 7-14 per week are in a risk group that makes them more likely to develop an alcohol dependency, if they aren’t already there yet. This might not seem like a ton for a “weekend warrior”, but context matters, too. There’s a difference between having two drinks each morning so that you can function at work, or having a few drinks on the weekend at dinner and at a club.
In both cases, you’re taking steps closer to alcoholism, but it’s worth nothing that somebody who feels like they need alcohol to have a good time, or just to function, has already developed a dangerous alcohol dependency and should serious consider cutting back or stopping drinking right away. Without taking diligent actions, a drinking problem won’t get better, but it can keep getting worse and worse until it’s taking a larger toll, and is even harder to quit.
Other Causes of Alcoholism?
Anytime that you’re relying on alcohol for something, the risk of addiction is there. Whether it’s drinking in the morning to avoid a headache or hangover from the night before, using it to function in social scenarios or to cope with trauma, when you start using alcohol as a tool, that’s a sign of a bad relationship with alcohol.
The NIAAA says that people who start drinking before they’re 15 have a much higher risk of becomiung alcoholics, it can be as much as four times more likely! Many younger people will experiment, but whne the experiment never ends, that can lead to real trouble with booze.
The causes of alcoholism vary from person to person, and everyone has their own unique set of circumstances and triggers that can lead them down the path to a drinking problem. Recognizing where you are on that path, and what you can do to turn things around, is how to avoid having it turn into a more serious problem.