Potential Causes of Alcoholism
It is an age-old question, one with no easy answers. What causes alcoholism, and why can some people drink socially, while others engage in binge drinking, excessive alcohol consumption, and other risky behaviors? Why can your neighbor enjoy a glass of wine with dinner every night while you struggle to stop at a single can of beer? Why did your parents or grandparents drink to excess, and are you at risk of becoming an alcoholic as well?
There are no easy answers to these questions, and so far, no one has found a single gene that causes alcoholism or a single factor that will guarantee that an individual will be unable to stop drinking if they choose to start. If it were that easy, alcoholism could be cured within a generation, but like many things in life, the answer is much more nuanced and complicated.
Having a Relative Who Is an Alcoholic
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that alcoholism runs in families and that having a relative who is an alcoholic can put you at higher risk. If nothing else, having a relative who has struggled with alcoholism or heavy drinking should be a cautionary tale and a warning of what you want to avoid.
Simply having a relative who is an alcoholic is no guarantee that you will go down the same path. After all, several factors contributed to their alcoholism, from how they were raised and the home environment they grew up in, to challenges they faced along the way. Your individual risk factors are much different, and a life of alcoholism is avoidable if you remain aware and seek professional help at the first sign of trouble. If you think you have a drinking problem, we encourage you to reach out to the experts at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab right away.
Mental Health Disorders
There are many risk factors associated with the excessive use of alcohol and many answers to the question of what causes alcoholism. Still, one thing is obvious – there is a strong relationship between mental health disorders and all kinds of substance abuse, including the use of alcohol.
The link between mental health disorders and alcohol use, also known as co-occurring disorders, can run in both directions. In many cases, a young person with an undiagnosed mental health challenge like anxiety or depression may seek to self-medicate with alcohol, only to find that their excessive drinking is a much bigger problem.
In other cases, the alcoholism will happen first, and the depression and anxiety will result from excessive drinking instead of the cause. But no matter what the relationship or which way the arrow runs, it is essential to understand the impact mental health challenges can have on someone’s ability to stop at a single drink.
Can Alcoholism Be Prevented?
The question of what causes alcoholism is hard enough, but there is another, even more complicated question to answer. Many people ask themselves if alcoholism can be prevented and what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from the dangers of this legal but often devastating drug.
So far, there is no magic potion that can allow someone with alcoholic tendencies to drink safely, and maintaining sobriety might require total abstinence. Those with a family history of alcoholism or a mental health challenge, for instance, may choose not to drink out of worries about genetics or concerns about interactions with the prescription medications they are taking.
Everyone will have to make their own decision, of course, but there is no law saying you have to drink. If you are already drinking and worrying about your future, you can always reach out to our staff at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab for the help you need, so you can learn about your illness and how to treat it.
WhiteSands Alcohol Rehab and Detox
The question of what causes alcoholism and how it can be treated is a complicated one, and there are no easy answers. Even so, there are things you can do to protect yourself or heal yourself, and it all starts with a single action to find help.
If you are concerned about your drinking or the alcohol use of a friend or family member, we urge you to pick up the phone can give us a call today. Our alcoholism experts can guide you through the next steps, leading you down the path to a safer and more sober life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.