Identifying Some of the Most Common Causes of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is one of the most commonly diagnosed substance use disorders in the country. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, over 29 million people over the age of 12 have experienced alcohol use disorder in the past year alone. Understanding the causes of alcoholism and why it’s so prevalent can help to break the stigmas associated with alcohol abuse. This way, more people who are struggling with alcoholism can get the help they need through treatment and recovery, leading to a more fulfilling and healthy life.

Understanding the Causes of Alcoholism

There is no one thing that causes a person to be at a higher risk for developing alcoholism. Every person is different, and each person who develops alcohol use disorder may decide to pick up their first drink for any number of reasons. And, addiction, including alcoholism, can impact anyone’s life, regardless of age, culture, race, religion, or any other descriptor. However, there are some commonly identified things that factor into whether or not a person is at a higher risk for alcoholism, commonly referred to as causes of alcoholism.

Some of the more commonly cited causes of alcoholism can include:

Physical Causes of Alcoholism

Something happens in the body for a person to develop alcoholism. People who have family members who also struggle with alcoholism are at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder themselves as a result of these biological factors. These genetic factors are believed to play a part in how some people can stop drinking after a couple of beers and others (people who develop alcoholism) can drink all night without feeling like they need to stop. This is because people who have a genetic predisposition for alcoholism may experience more of a pleasurable feeling, which can cause the brain to tell the body to repeat the behavior of drinking. Thus, leading to dependence and eventual addiction to alcohol.

Social Causes of Alcoholism

Along with physical, and biological causes of alcoholism, there are also social things that can put people at risk for developing alcoholism. For example, things like friends, family, culture, and even religious beliefs can be risks for people to develop alcoholism. When you are surrounded by a society that accepts and normalizes drinking, people find more reasons to drink and even drink heavily, which can increase the risk of developing an addiction to alcohol. Furthermore, being exposed to alcohol as a young person when social circles, like family, are involved in drinking can increase a person’s risk of developing substance use issues.

Psychological Causes of Alcohol Use Disorder

Another thing that can contribute to the risk of alcohol use disorder is psychological influences. Many people who struggle with mental health issues don’t get the help they need to manage the symptoms of mental health conditions. This is often due to not wanting to face judgment from others or other social stigmas to get mental health help. Instead of getting help, people living with the effects of mental health issues may try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. This can lead to the development of alcoholism and other substance use issues. So, psychological issues also play a role in causing alcoholism.

Some of the Benefits of Stopping Drinking That May Surprise You

Stopping drinking alcohol when a substance use disorder has developed is challenging. There is no easy way to go about combating addiction. But, the benefits that a person can experience once they stop drinking is a silver lining that many addicts can look forward to on their journey toward mental healing. So, what are the physical and mental benefits of stopping drinking?

You’ll Get Better Sleep

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it affects the central nervous system in a way that slows down its natural functioning. So, as a result, drinking alcohol can make a person more drowsy and sleepy. People who drink heavily or for long periods of time eventually find that they have sleep issues as a result of alcohol’s impact on the central nervous system. These sleep issues can include insomnia, not getting enough sleep, sleeping too long, and being generally fatigued. When people who have a dependence on alcohol stop drinking, they find that they can manage their sleep much better and instill sleep schedules into their lives. Thus, giving them all the benefits that healthy amounts and quality of sleep offers.

Improved Brain Function

Neurotransmitters are the brain’s way of communicating with the rest of the body so that we can function in healthy ways. But, drinking alcohol slows the communication of neurotransmitters, resulting in a number of negative effects including a person’s access to memories, increased risk for depression, mood swings, and the dying off of brain cells. Unfortunately, some of the damage to the brain that is caused by alcohol may never recover. But, for many people who quit drinking, some of the brain cells that are damaged by drinking regrow and repair themselves. This can result in eventual restimulation of important brain functioning like the release and making of mood-regulating chemicals including dopamine and serotonin. Therefore, giving people who quit drinking a chance to be happy and have healthy and manageable emotions without using the crutch of drinking alcohol.

Better Physical Health

There are a number of negative health effects that alcohol has on the body. Fortunately, when someone stops drinking, the body’s cells are given a chance to repair themselves. So, for many people, the negative physical effects of alcohol on the body can be repaired after some time. And, the risk for long-term and chronic illnesses as a result of drinking alcohol are reduced. Some of the physical health advantages of stopping drinking can include:

  • better heart and cardiovascular health
  • a reduction in the risk of developing cancer as the result of alcohol use
    improved immune health (lower risk of immune system deficiencies and illness as the result of poor immune system functioning)
  • better liver functioning
Improved Mental Health

Along with physical health, the mental health of people who quit drinking improves. Mental health can be compromised due to excessive and continual drinking because alcohol negatively impacts the brain’s functioning. Furthermore, the negative consequences of drinking can lead to relationship issues, which can lead to debilitating mental health states. Addiction comes in many forms, and alcoholism is one of these forms. When someone becomes addicted to alcohol, their main priority is to mask their emotions with the dulling effects of alcohol, which can lead to a plethora of mental health issues.

Some of the mental health benefits to quitting drinking can include:

  • better relationships and improved communication skills/boundary setting
  • reduced stress and anxiety levels
  • reduced depressive symptoms
  • improved focus and concentration
  • better mood management and fewer mood swings
  • improved energy levels
  • improved self-esteem and confidence

Take Advantage of the Benefits of Quitting Drinking for Yourself

Ready to feel better and take back control that drinking has had on your life? Delray Center for Recovery is an outpatient mental health treatment facility located in South Florida. We provide outpatient assistance for people struggling with substance use disorder including alcoholism. Find out how we provide assistance for people struggling with drug abuse and alcoholism on our website to learn more.

Answering Frequent Questions About Alcohol Abuse Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a disease that affects mental, physical, and emotional health. But, many may have questions before they get the help they need to overcome the cycle of alcoholism in their lives. If you have questions about alcohol abuse disorder, how to get help, and what help looks like, keep reading. In this article, we answer many of the questions people struggling with this type of addiction have. This way, they’re given the information they need to make the decision to get help.

Does Alcohol Abuse Disorder Run in Families?

Yes, alcoholism can be passed down hereditarily. There are a number of genes that can be responsible for a person’s predisposition for developing alcohol dependence. So, it is something that people that may have family members who have struggled with alcohol dependence issues should be aware of so they can understand their genetic risk. Studies show that the majority of people who have alcohol use disorder do have family members who also have experienced issues with alcohol dependence and abuse.

How Does Drinking Excessively or Heavily Impact Health?

Drinking heavily and excessively can lead to dependence, which is the body’s need to consume alcohol to hold off withdrawal symptoms. Drinking in excessive amounts and developing dependence on alcohol can lead to a number of negative health symptoms. Some of the issues that drinking heavily can lead to can include:

  • heart issues and disease
  • cirrhosis of the liver
  • high blood pressure
  • cancer
  • concurring mental health issues (mood disorders, anxiety, etc.)
  • pregnancy complications and infant issues after birth (SIDS)

Finally, along with all these health issues that drinking in excessive amounts can lead to, it can also lead to the development of alcohol use disorder. This is the addiction term for people who are struggling with alcohol dependence and require the use of alcohol in order to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.

How Do I Know If I’m Living With Alcohol Use Disorder?

Just because a person drinks in excessive amounts or heavily, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re living with alcohol use disorder. Some of the characteristics of this disease include:

  • the inability to moderate or stop drinking alcohol
  • understanding and recognizing the consequences of drinking but continuing to do so regardless of these consequences
  • having to drink more than others to experience desired effects
  • experiencing alcohol cravings that interfere with daily life and responsibilities
  • trouble with work, school, relationships, finances, and/or the law as the result of drinking
What do I do if I Think a Loved One is Struggling With Alcohol Abuse Disorder?

It can certainly be concerning when you think a loved one is struggling with excessive drinking that has led to the development of alcohol use disorder. The effects of this disease don’t just impact the person who has developed the condition, but their loved ones as well. But, fortunately, there are some things you can do to help. If you think that a loved one is dealing with this condition, you can:

  • stop enabling behavior (giving rides to the liquor store, giving them money, keeping them from experiencing the consequences of their drinking, etc.)
  • learn more about alcohol abuse disorder and the disease of addiction in general
  • reach out for help for yourself and your family through group therapy resources
  • reach out to mental health specialists about your situation and the next steps to take
  • consider an intervention strategy in order to convince your loved one to get professional help

What Does Professional Help Look Like for Someone Living With Alcohol Addiction?

Treatment for alcoholism can be successful for people who are motivated to continue their recovery and get help through professional treatment services. Treatment can involve a number of services including behavioral and traditional talk therapy, psychiatric medications, detox programs, and family counseling. With a combined approach to treatment that works to address not only drinking, but underlying conditions that may have led to the development of the dependence on alcohol, people are more likely to be successful when it comes to treatment and recovery.

Delray Center for Recovery is an outpatient treatment resource for people living with alcohol abuse disorder and their families so that professional treatment services can be utilized in times of need. Find out how we can help today by researching more about our services and treatment on our website.

Is Alcohol Outpatient Treatment Right for You?

If you’re struggling with alcoholism, alcohol outpatient treatment might seem like a great option. Outpatient treatment for addiction allows you to seek treatment on your own schedule, so you don’t have to take weeks or months away from work and your family to seek help. But alcohol outpatient treatment isn’t right for everyone. Here’s what you should know about alcohol outpatient treatment.

You Might Still Need to Go to Alcohol Detox

If you’re physically dependent on alcohol, it can be very dangerous to try to quit drinking without medical supervision. While only a small percentage of alcoholics experience deadly withdrawal symptoms, they are possible. If you’ve been drinking heavily for a long time – especially if you’re accustomed to drink every day – you should have medical supervision during your detox from alcohol. Outpatient alcohol detox is best for people who do not have a long history of alcoholism or who do not drink every day.

You Need Willpower to Make Alcohol Outpatient Treatment Work

While outpatient treatment is just as effective as inpatient treatment for people who complete their programs, completing the program is vital – and that can be harder to do if the only thing standing between you and another drink is your willpower. Alcohol outpatient treatment won’t provide the kind of supervision you’ll get in inpatient treatment, so you need to be willing and able to stop yourself from drinking. If you can’t, outpatient treatment might not be right for you.

Treatment Will Occupy a Huge Chunk of Your Schedule

Although you won’t need to take up residency in a treatment center for alcohol outpatient treatment, that doesn’t mean it won’t take up a huge amount of your time. You’ll have to spend three or more hours a day, three to five days a week, attending counseling sessions. Family and group therapy will be a part of your treatment. You’ll also have nutritional counseling, fitness therapy, and other forms of therapy. If you think you’re going to have trouble fitting this into your schedule while still fulfilling your other responsibilities, consider taking time out from those responsibilities to devote to your treatment and recovery.

At the Delray Center for Healing, we offer a holistic model for alcohol outpatient treatment. Call 1-888-699-5679 to learn how we can help you.