A person that is addicted to alcohol is colloquially known as an alcoholic. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic alcoholism is characterized by a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.” Individuals that struggle with alcoholism prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else. This can adversely affect every facet of one’s life, including causing physical complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal problems, and more. The precise scientific reason behind why an individual develops alcoholism remains unknown. There are, however, several risk factors that have been reported as potentially playing a role in increasing one’s susceptibility to alcoholism, some of which include the following:
- Biological factors: research has found a close link between genetics/ physiology and alcoholism. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry assert that children of alcoholics are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics themselves.
- Environmental Factors: people exposed to heavy alcohol consumption at a young age may be more likely to develop alcohol use disorder than those who are not. Research has found that those who begin drinking in the early to mid-teen years are more likely to develop problems with alcohol.
- Social Factors: social situations where alcohol consumption is encouraged and/ or widely acceptable essentially provides an individual with permission to engage in unhealthy drinking. Further, factors such as the availability of alcohol, peer pressure, social class and any kind of abuse can play a role in the development of alcohol addiction.
- Psychological Factors: individuals who suffer from other mental health conditions are more likely to abuse drugs and/ or alcohol, and certain mental health disorders are common among people with an alcohol use disorder. Studies have also found that stress is closely linked with increased alcohol consumption, and increased alcohol consumption is closely linked to developing alcohol use disorder.
Alcoholism is a complex disease involving physical and psychological changes that occur with consistent alcohol use. Hence, anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, body type or personal beliefs, has the propensity to develop alcoholism.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.