What Are the Main Factors behind Alcohol Addiction?

As the number of alcohol addiction cases rises in North Carolina and especially cities like Asheville, so does interest in the factors that favor addiction. Successful rehabilitation involves uncovering the root of the addiction and eliminating it or helping the addict to cope with it. As a result, in the following lines, we will look at the main factors contributing to alcohol addiction.

Factors That Favor Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism has numerous causes or risk factors. The mere existence of these factors is not a guarantee that a person will become addicted to alcohol. However, it is a reason of concern. Once the respective person starts drinking, their path to alcoholism is already paved. To better understand how that occurs, let’s review the main factors involved.

There are various classifications available. One of them groups alcoholism-favoring factors into two major categories:

  • Internal, related to a person’s genetic inheritance, personality, mental health, choices, and drinking history
  • External, related to environment, family, religion, social and cultural context, age, education, employment, etc.

Another classification looks at the nature of the factors. It differentiates the following categories:

1.      Psychological Factors

This category includes psychological conditions that could drive an individual to alcohol addiction. The most common ones are social anxiety, depression, the bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. When these factors are present, in order for the addict to recover, their rehabilitation process should focus not only on treating the addiction but also on treating or helping them cope with their condition.

2.      Personality Factors

Alcohol addiction is often favored by personality. For example, adventurous, risk-loving, and uninhibited individuals are more likely to engage in heavy drinking than their cerebral, responsible, and inhibited peers. So are individuals who see themselves as the life of a party or are extremely shy.

Generally, people who engage in heavy drinking have positive expectations from alcohol. Those who refrain from drinking do it because they are fully aware of the risks and have negative expectations regarding the effects of alcohol.

3.      Genetic Factors

A person’s genes will make them more likely to become addicted to alcohol. Thus, children with alcoholic parents are more likely to follow on their parents’ footsteps than children born from non-alcoholic parents.

The genetics behind alcoholism has yet to be fully understood, scientists have already clarified that there are several genes involved, each with its own influence. These genes determine how fast the body processes alcohol, how severe hangover is, what feelings alcohol induces, and how likely one is to continue or stop drinking.

4.      Familial Factors

Individuals growing up with family members that consume and encourage alcohol consumption are more vulnerable to addiction. In these families, drinking is seen as a normal, healthy, and positive practice, therefore acceptable, expected, and even desirable. Also, family problems may drive a person to alcohol.

5.      Environmental Factors

The environment one lives and works in significantly influences their path towards or away from alcohol addiction. For example, someone living in a country where alcohol is banned or prohibitively expensive is less likely to start drinking. Someone working in a bar, a military or someone with an extremely stressful job is more likely to abuse and become addicted to alcohol.

6.      Religious Factors

Some religions prohibit alcohol consumptions, which makes their adepts less likely to consume and become addicted to alcohol. Also, fervent believers may have an easier time overcoming alcohol addiction, as their belief will give them strength and motivate them on their path to rehabilitation.

7.      Social and Cultural Factors

Some social and cultural contexts encourage alcohol consumption. Think of college parties, wine tasting events, and holiday traditions (alcohol-enriched eggnog). Other contexts influence a person’s attitude towards alcohol. In cultures that condemn drinking, addicts and their families may try to hide the problem instead of facing it and seeking help.

8.      Age Factors

Age plays an important role in addiction as well. Teenagers and young adults are more likely to abuse alcohol than their older peers. Moreover, the sooner someone starts consuming alcohol, the higher the risk of them becoming addicted is. The highest risk has been assessed in individuals whose drinking starts at 15 years of age.

9.      Educational Factors

You would think that education drives people away from alcohol but that is not always true. Apparently, no less than 80% of U.S. college students drink and they do it in such a way as to enhance the effects of alcohol.

10.  Personal Choices

There are some aspects of personal choice when it comes to alcoholism. For example, someone who has decided that they will never have a drink is obviously not going to develop alcoholism. Additionally, those who choose to avoid social situations where drinking is likely to occur are less vulnerable to addiction.

Assess and Mitigate the Alcohol Addiction Risk Factors in Your Life Now!

Whether you or someone you love have already fallen prey to addiction or would simply like to prevent it, we can help. At Asheville Recovery Center, we have wide experience identifying and fighting alcoholism risk factors. We help our patients understand risks and we provide them with the tools and guidance required to diminish them. Call our office and make an appointment now!

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