There are many factors, such as genetic predisposition that put people at a higher risk for developing alcoholism. Alcohol addiction is defined as having a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol and participating in a pattern of frequent, high-quantity drinking. Many people with alcohol addictions find it hard to get through the day without having something to drink. They use alcohol as an escape method, drinking when things get tough or stressful.
However, it’s important to remember that even if you’re at a higher risk of alcohol addiction, that doesn’t mean that you’re “destined” to become addicted to alcohol. If you’re careful and check in on yourself and your drinking habits frequently, you can avoid addiction while still occasionally enjoying alcohol. For some, it’s easier to cut alcohol out completely to reduce the risk of addiction.
Mental Health Disorders
Having a mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more can put you at a higher risk of developing an addiction. This is especially true in cases of untreated mental health issues. Those who have undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of escaping the feelings they’re experiencing on a daily basis.
Many alcoholics often have untreated mental health issues and site their depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders as one of the reasons they relied on alcohol. However, those who are receiving treatment for their mental health disorder may be less likely to develop an alcoholic addiction. As therapy can teach healthy coping mechanisms, patients may be less likely to turn to alcohol or other drugs.
People with “addictive” personalities may also be at a higher risk of developing an addiction. An addictive personality is common alongside many mental health disorders, including ADHD. Patients may hyper-fixate on certain things, including drinking or alcohol. These “addictive” personality people may find it easy to drink a lot frequently. Even if they stop drinking alcohol, they may get addicted to something else, like drugs or gambling.
Unfortunately, having a family member who is an addict can also put you at higher risk for alcohol addiction, for example, a parent or grandparent. According to the Institute on Drug Abuse, half of your risk of addiction is due to genetics, meaning that those related to alcoholics are at a much higher risk of addiction than others.
That means that if you have a parent who’s an alcoholic and has mental health issues, you may be at even higher risk for addiction. With genetic predisposition, it’s important to be careful around alcohol and drugs. Some find success in avoiding substances altogether, while others are able to drink with caution and avoid addiction.
Drinking from a young age is also known to put people at risk for addiction. If you started drinking before 21, you permanently changed the way your brain works, making it easier to become addicted to the substance long-term.
Young drinkers will have to be careful around alcohol as they age in order to prevent an addiction from developing. It’s also possible for young drinkers to become addicted from a young age because of how easy it is to mold their brains.
Seek Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love is at higher risk for alcohol addiction (whether it’s because of genetic predisposition or another reason), greater risk should be exercised around alcohol. If addiction occurs anyways, you or your loved one should seek treatment as soon as possible. To learn more about how we can help you get and stay sober, call Asheville Recovery Center today.