Environment, genetics, and mental health all play a role in how alcohol affects a person’s mind and body. Some people are more prone to developing dependence on alcohol. When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, it often takes priority over other things in their life, such as family, relationships, or their job.
Addiction to alcohol can occur for a variety of reasons. There is no single cause for alcoholism, and not every person who drinks will become dependent on alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), various factors can increase a person’s risk for alcohol misuse. These factors include:
- Family history. Having a parent who is addicted to alcohol increases a person’s risk for developing alcoholism. Being exposed to heavy drinking as a child increases their likelihood of developing a dependence on alcohol.
- Drinking at an early age. Those who begin drinking before age 15 are more likely to have an alcohol use disorder than those who waited until they were 21. If you experiment with drinking at an early age, you are more likely to have a problem with alcohol later in life.
- Gender. Men are more likely to develop alcoholism than women.
- Mental health conditions. Having a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder can put a person at a higher risk for alcoholism. The numbing effects of alcohol can ease the symptoms of a mental health condition; over time, the person craves the numbing quality and can become addicted.
- Environment. Living in a stressful environment or being under large amounts of stress at work can cause a person to drink heavily as a means to escape.
- Past trauma. Those who experienced childhood trauma such as a divorce, physical or sexual abuse, or a loss of a parent are at a higher risk for alcoholism.
- Binge drinking. Consuming large amounts of alcohol over short periods of time can lead to dependency on and abuse of alcohol.
- Peer pressure. Being surrounded by others who drink, such as a spouse or close friends, can cause a person to give in and drink due to peer pressure. Drinking excessively and more often can lead to dependency problems.
Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder
Seeing a loved one drinking alone or blacking out when they drink are signs of a problem. The person may become violent or angry when asked to stop or address the problem. In addition, you may notice they need to drink more often or in larger amounts to feel the effects of alcohol.
Some other signs of an alcohol use disorder are:
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of care in appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Memory loss
- Missing work due to drinking
- Having legal or financial problems
- Withdrawing from family or social activities
A person addicted to alcohol may have physical symptoms if they try to stop drinking. Withdrawing from alcohol can be serious and cause seizures, nausea, and vomiting. Alcoholism can have complications that can be fatal. Alcohol can put you at a higher risk for certain cancers, elevate your blood pressure, and cause other health complications. Alcoholism can lead to liver disease or cirrhosis since the liver can become damaged over time and no longer filter toxins and alcohol from the bloodstream.
Finding Help For Alcohol Addiction
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available. At Twin Lakes Recovery Center, we have a variety of programs to meet your or your loved one’s specific needs, including residential and detox programs, outpatient programs, relapse prevention programs, therapy sessions, and many other activities designed for those in recovery. In addition, we can provide support for the entire family through our family recovery program.
We Are Here to Help
To find out more about what programs and services Twin Lakes Recovery Center has to offer, contact one of our addiction specialists to set up a confidential consultation by filling out our convenient online contact form.