It should come as no surprise that some people are far more prone to alcohol addiction than others. This isn’t just bad luck; as our knowledge of the addiction process continues to grow we are becoming ever more aware of risk factors that may make some of us more likely to seek solace in alcohol or other drugs.
If you are concerned that you’re suffering from alcohol addiction it can tempting to “blame” these factors for your addiction. This is of course not a healthy attitude. While the odds may not be in your favour, this still doesn’t guarantee you a lifelong addiction, nor does it excuse your inability to attend an addiction treatment program.
A degree of will power will always be needed for beating an addiction, however it is interesting to note the factors that increase the chances of suffering from alcohol addiction. Some of these, as you will see, are well outside your field of control. Others we very much maintain control over and by being aware of them you may reduce the chances of falling into alcohol addiction.
Scientists have uncovered a number of genes that increase an individual’s odds of becoming alcohol dependent.
For example genetics can affect our level of risk adversity; how comfortable you feel with perceived levels of risk. Those who are less affected by risk are statistically more likely to drink heavily and, in the process, develop a dependency.
Additionally studies have found that people whose parents were heavy drinkers are almost four times more likely to develop drinking problems themselves at some point in their lives.
Heavy or repeated drinking can over time build up a tolerance to alcohol as the body successfully develops the enzymes to process the alcohol. This may at first seem like a positive to many people who are then able to drink more regularly without suffering unpleasant side effects.
In reality this tolerance can not only increase the volume of alcohol consumed in order to reach the same level of intoxication but in addition makes it far more likely that withdrawal symptoms are experienced when insufficient alcohol has been consumed.
Stress can take many forms; from workplace pressure up to the loss of a loved one and we all react differently to stressful situations. However in these life changing situations where our stress hormones are at their highest many of us begin to rely on a crutch in order to get through the day. Alcohol is possibly one of the most socially-acceptable crutches that we rely on these days.
However if drinking alcohol as a stress reliever is becoming a common experience it may be wise to investigate other stress-busting activities as a healthier alternative.
Some people treat alcohol as a part of every life. They may go to the pub at lunchtime, they may spend much of their free time consuming alcohol and pouring themselves a beverage as soon as they arrive home. In cases like these it can be very easy to be encouraged to drink. It is perfectly natural and opportunities will always be there.
However, as mentioned, regular alcohol consumption makes alcohol dependence far more likely. Therefore if your current social life revolves largely around the consumption of alcohol it may be wise to rethink your friendships.
Try to make a concerted effort to cut down on your alcohol consumption and instead find more meaningful – and alcohol-free – ways of enjoying yourself socially.
Alcohol dependence is frequently linked to other psychiatric problems. Both depression and drug use, for example, are firmly linked to an increase chance of alcohol dependence. In this way, it is important not to “self-medicate” with alcohol if you’re not feeling right.
Instead consult a proper medical professional who will be able to diagnose and treat the source of your problems, helping you to avoid an unhealthy and regular use of alcohol to remove your anxieties.