23 Apr What Causes Alcoholism?
Alcoholism can impact anyone, regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, personal beliefs, or the like. While it’s theoretically impossible to determine with absolute certainty what causes alcoholism or alcohol dependency, there are several factors that seem to contribute. Moreover, once excessive drinking takes place over a long period of time, the body is eventually going to begin to crave it in the same way that it will crave any drug after prolonged use.
Some of the factors that might cause alcoholism are as follows:
- Environment. If you’re surrounded by a drinking culture, this could have an influence on you. For example, if you live in close proximity to bars and liquor stores, or you live in an area that hosts seasonal events that draw in big drinking crowds, you might be more likely to partake.
- Biology. Some people can have a few drinks and stop, while others have a hard time stopping after just one or two drinks, regardless of where they are (or with whom). According to some scientists, there are 51 chromosomal regions in humans that can accommodate at least three genetic risk factors for alcoholism. If these genes are passed down over generations, family members are much more likely to develop alcoholism.
- Social. If your family members are big drinkers or struggle with alcoholism and this is what you were raised around, then you may be more inclined to turn to heavy drinking later in life. The same goes true in situations where any caregiver you grew up in frequent close proximity to was a heavy drinker or an alcoholic. In short, if you’re surrounded by it growing up, you’re more likely to pick up the habit yourself.
- Psychological. How you handle various situations mentally can be a factor contributing to alcoholism as well. For example, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, you may be more at risk of becoming an alcoholic. Many people with mental health issues wind up turning to alcohol or drugs as a way of self-soothing instead of addressing what the root cause of their anxiety or depression is. This becomes a very slippery slope because once the cycle begins, it can be virtually impossible to break.
- The Disease Model. Finally, the explicit term, alcoholism, is generally defined as a “disease”. And if such is the case, this implies that it does not develop over time and it behaves more in alignment with the biology argument. According to those who subscribe to the disease model, an alcoholic is born an alcoholic, so it shouldn’t matter whether or not he or she built up a dependence over time. They would experience that phenomenon of craving after their very first drink.
Regardless of what the true cause or reason behind one’s alcoholism is, what’s relatively common across the board is that we generally can’t get clean on our own. Whether this means we need to go to rehab, seek alcohol counseling, join an ashram, or enter into a twelve-step program, some intervention is usually necessary for alcoholics to stop drinking. The good news is that all of these things exist, but the alcoholic usually must hit an emotional, physical, or spiritual bottom (or all of the above) before he or she has any true drive to get clean. If someone else is the one deciding that the alcoholic should get sober and the alcoholic doesn’t agree, then any attempt at recovery is likely to not take hold. But if the alcoholic has lost all hope, then this usually means they’re ready to get sober and, at the very least, prepared to give recovery a solid run. We can and do get clean, but the willingness must be there.
Kembali Recovery Center can Help
If you or someone that you know and love is struggling to get or stay sober, Kembali Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more about our inpatient treatment program as well as our Recovery and Beyond Program.
* Please note that due to current COVID-19 physical distancing regulations and suggestions, our scheduling has changed until further notice. Please contact the center directly for more information.