What are the Causes of Alcoholism?
There are a number of different causes of alcoholism and understanding these plays an important role in dealing with it, because once you understand what causes alcoholism you realise that no-one is to blame and there is nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about ...
I could probably find 50 different reasons for the cause of alcoholism if I wanted to, but I'm just going to stick to what I think are the most important ones:
Causes of Alcoholism 1: Genetics
Have you ever wondered why so many children of alcoholics end up with drinking problems of their own? (I know - happened to me!)
That's obviously no accident. I remember hearing that apparently genetics accounts for around 60% of the reason for the cause of addiction.
That isn't to say though that just because a parent is an alcoholic that you'll end up as one.
But just like many hereditary characteristics are passed from parent to child, science has also found that alcoholism is one of those.
So unfortunately many of us that develop problems with alcohol and drugs, are genetically predispositioned to do so. For more on the alcoholism hereditary connection, follow the link.
Causes of Alcoholism 2: Personality Traits
Another cause of alcoholism is that some of us just seem to have curious or addictive type personalities. Know what I mean? Always up for trying something, even if we know it's bad for us or plain wrong.
Problem is, you try the wrong thing out of curiosity (and like it), something like Heroin for example, and before you know it you've developed yourself a habit because some substances are just so addictive.
Dependence to alcohol doesn't generally happen as quickly as it does to some drugs, but when it comes to alcohol most people know their limits and boundaries and are able to stay within those most of the time - whereas problems develop for people like me who never really had the sense of when enough was enough.
Moderation is a word some of us simply don't get because it's almost like we feel the need to push our boundaries the whole time (insecurity maybe?) - and before you know it, it can lead into full blown alcoholism or addiction.
Causes of Alcoholism 3: Social and Peer Pressure
Let's face it - when it comes to trying drink or drugs for the first time, you don't usually wake up one day thinking, 'let me try this.'
You usually start drinking in your teenage years because everyone around you is starting to - because ultimately we are influenced by those around us - and things lead from there.
I started drinking as a teenager because that was just what all my friends and peers were starting to do. I'd go to parties and there would be alcohol around and inevitably I wanted to try for myself eventually.
There's also a massive teenage binge drinking culture and that has been created purely due to peer pressure. As a teenager you usually drink purely to get drunk - and doing that results in you being more accepted by the rest of your peers who do the same. (Actually, that doesn't change for a lot of adults :-)
Alcoholism and drug addiction are massively growing problems among teenagers. Visit a local rehab and you'd be amazed to see how many of the patients are teenagers.
And obviously for some, habits developed in your younger years are carried onto later life ... so peer and social pressure causes alcoholism and drug addiction to growing degrees.
Drug use comes about almost exclusively because someone introduces you to it. I was always totally against drugs, but when I went travelling with friends after I had finished school,me and my friends ended up living in a commune where literally everyone else was using drugs.
And soon enough curiosity got the better of me (and my friends) and soon we were all using drugs regularly. I'm just the one that ended up progressing with my drug use further than I should have done :-)
Fact is, we're influenced by what those around us do to a large extent - and using alcohol or drugs is no different so peer pressure is a major cause of alcoholism because if you have a predisposition to alcoholism, being encouraged or pressured to drink is the last thing you need.
Also, especially because drinking is such a socially acceptable part of our culture, the boundaries between socially acceptable levels of drinking and dependency/addiction have become blurred.
How do you define the boundary between drinking regularly socially and full blown alcoholism? Like I explained in the definition of alcoholism it's not about how much you drink, but by the effects drinking has on your life. When your relationships or work or any other areas of your life begin to suffer, what was socially acceptable becomes addiction, irrespective of how much you drink ...
Causes of Alcoholism 4: Emotional and Psychological Factors
Depression, Stress, Anxiety can result in all of us using something inadvertently as a coping mechanism, be it food, alcohol or drugs - which can then lead to addiction and so also causes alcoholism and addiction.
Everything these days happens at a 100 miles an hour. Life has become rush, rush, rush ... this needs to be done now, now, now ...
Of course something has to give eventually and unfortunately alcohol and drugs are the things we sometimes end up turning to, to help us do so. Be sure to check out the Pyschology of Alcoholism and Addiction section for more on this ...
I could go on and find a bunch of other causes of alcoholism and addiction - but the most important thing at the end of the day is not to get into the 'blame game,' but focus on what needs to be done, which you can find out more about in the Alcoholism Addiction Treatment and Alcohol Addiction Recovery sections of the site.
So give yourself a break and keep reading relevant articles like the causes of drug addiction, what is alcoholism and the idea around the controversial alcoholism disease concept to improve you knowledge and understanding of addiction.
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