The causes of alcoholism are complex, and researchers still do not have a complete picture. Why can one person have a glass of wine on Friday night, while for another, one glass leads to a bottle? For the person dealing with the addiction, it cannot be very clear. You may find yourself wondering, “what’s wrong with me” or “why am I like this.” You may even envy those who can use alcohol without getting addicted. We may never have all the answers about what causes alcoholism, but here’s what we do know here at Midwest Recovery.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a severe form of alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse applies to anyone who misuses alcohol. This includes binge drinking, drinking to cope with stress, and impaired driving. Alcoholism is sometimes known as alcohol dependence. The person is both physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol. Attempts to stop cause withdrawal symptoms, and they feel unable to control their alcohol use.
Causes of Addiction to Alcohol
There are four primary causes of addiction. Any addiction can rarely be narrowed down to a single cause. In most cases, several of these factors interact together to cause alcohol dependence.
The primary causes of addiction to alcohol are:
- Genetics and body chemistry
- Psychological factors
- Social and cultural factors
Genetics and Body Chemistry
Genetics can increase your risk of developing alcoholism. There are many genes currently being studied for their role in alcohol use disorder. Some genes decrease the risk by making drinking alcohol unpleasant. Others increase the risk. Some genes may give the person more pleasure from alcohol than the average person due to how alcohol is metabolized or affects the brain. Other genes are risk factors for all types of addiction. While genes do influence risk, addiction is often accompanied by other risk factors.
Alcohol use disorder often begins in a period of psychological stress. This can include stress from work, strained relationships, depression, and anxiety. Alcohol provides temporary relief. Over time, the person turns to alcohol to cope with psychological or emotional problems more often because it makes them feel better. As alcohol use creates its own set of problems, they may use more to continue to cope.
Role of Environmental Factors in Alcoholism
The first environment we are exposed to in our home as children. If a parent abuses alcohol, this increases the child’s risk of becoming an alcoholic later in life. If there’s a genetic predisposition to the disorder, a parent is more likely to be exposed to alcohol abuse.
However, environmental factors don’t end when we grow up. Instability or problems at home can increase risk. Living near a liquor store or bar has been shown to give a person a more positive view of alcohol and make them more likely to drink. We are also bombarded with advertisements as we drive past billboards, liquor stores, and bars.
Social and Cultural Factors
Those you spend time with and having broader cultural views will always influence how you see things. If friends enjoy partying on Friday night, you are more likely to do so as well. If alcohol is a key part of your culture, you are more likely to drink.
Socioeconomic status is also a factor. Those with a higher income or living in an area with a higher income are more likely to drink and consume more alcohol. However, those with lower economic status are more likely to suffer negative alcohol use consequences, including developing alcoholism. If your economic status goes down, you are also at higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Midwest Recovery Center
Alcohol dependence is a serious disorder that requires professional treatment. If alcohol use is having a negative impact on your life in Toledo, Ohio, we can help. Contact Midwest Recovery Center today at 833.627.0039, and start your recovery journey.