Research suggests that there are significant genetic factors and hereditary elements of alcohol addiction. It might also be down to environmental influences and the result of witnessing heavy drinking in the home, potentially from a very young age, which may have normalised this behaviour for you. It might also be that these nature and nurture elements both have an impact on the likelihood of you developing an addiction. The amount of time it takes to become addicted to alcohol depends on unique factors, such as a person’s genetic makeup and how much alcohol they consume.

why do people become alcoholics

A drink can help some relax and calm down at the end of a chaotic day. However, for those who develop an alcohol use disorder, this becomes a coping mechanism and turns into a maladaptive, repeating pattern. Like all addictions, alcohol use disorder is linked to a complex combination of biological, social, and psychological factors. Research highlights a genetic component to the disorder, as about half of one’s predisposition to alcoholism can be attributed to genetic makeup. People may turn to alcohol as a way to cope with trauma or other, often unrecognized psychological disorders. Socially, alcoholism may be tied to family dysfunction or a culture of drinking.

Physical Factors that Cause Alcoholism

Using alcohol during adolescence (from preteens to mid-20s) may affect brain development, making it more likely that they will be diagnosed with AUD later in life. However, most people with AUD—no matter their age or the severity of their alcohol problems—can benefit from treatment with behavioral health therapies, medications, or both. Social factors such as peer pressure, advertising and environment also play an important role in the development of alcoholism. Beer and liquor ads on television tend to portray drinking as a glamorous, exciting pastime.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Teenagers who hang out with others who drink or peer pressure them to drink might be more susceptible to the dangers of alcohol abuse due to the popularity of binge drinking. If these drinking patterns become a habit, individuals may struggle to socialize with others without drinking or feel as though they need to drink in order to be accepted. All of these factors that stem from drinking at an early age can increase a person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic. It’s extremely common for people who suffer from alcohol use disorder to have a co-occurring mental health condition. For example, someone who suffers from depression may drink as a means of self-medicating their symptoms.

Find Help for an Alcoholic Loved One Today

Call us today to find out which of our treatment options will work best for you. Research also shows that men are more likely than women to become alcoholics. A study reported by the CDC found that in 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder, compared with 4% of women. In addition, men are also more likely to binge drink than women, and have a higher rate of alcohol-related hospitalisations than women.

why do people become alcoholics

It’s a disease that can impact anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, body type, or personal beliefs. BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat. Alcohol manufacturers show advertisements that depict drinking as a relaxing, fun, and acceptable pastime.

Understanding the Disease of Alcoholism

Typically, a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder doesn’t require any other type of diagnostic test. There’s a chance your doctor may order blood work to check your liver function if you show signs or symptoms of liver disease. Symptoms of alcohol use disorder are based on the behaviors and physical outcomes that occur as a result of alcohol addiction.

  • It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male has five or more drinks within two hours or a female has at least four drinks within two hours.
  • This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.
  • Once someone hits stage four, their bodies are not what they used to be.
  • But as you continue to drink, you become drowsy and have less control over your actions.

Research has shown that people with a family history of alcoholism face an increased risk of developing alcoholism themselves. Although having a genetic predisposition to alcoholism does not guarantee that someone will develop an addiction, it may contribute to their susceptibility. Whether at home, at work, or in any other environment that causes stress, some people will have a drink to unwind and relax.

Increased Drinking Behaviors Over Time

The severity of AUD varies from person to person, with alcohol constituting the most severe case. If a person feels the compulsion to drink outside of social settings, this can indicate that they are starting to develop alcoholic behavior and may need an intervention. The later stages of addiction why do people become alcoholics can yield physical changes, but behavioral signs can help detect it early on. People with an addiction often develop rigid routines that revolve around uninterrupted access to alcohol and other drugs; they may be irritated by schedule changes and blame their frustration on others.

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