An In-Depth Look At Alcoholism And Its Causes
We might have an opioid crisis in our midst, and while the attention it’s getting nationwide is merited, this writer can’t help but think about the other silent cancer than we’ve been fighting a seemingly losing battle against for years – alcoholism.
Alcoholism, by definition, is the excessive or uncontrollable consumption of alcoholic beverages with the consumer disregarding any adverse effects the disorder might cause him.
Addiction to alcoholic drinks claims about 88,000 lives annually. And these recent years, statistic numbers show that:
- There has been a 50% increase in ER visits that are related to alcohol and its consumption.
- The number of deaths by cirrhosis, which had been on a steady decline in three decades, started rising again in 2006 up to now.
- There’s also an increased rate among women visiting the ER for alcohol-related causes. It seems that the female population is catching up on their male counterparts regarding chronic alcohol use, binge drinking, drunk driving, and even deaths from cirrhosis due to alcohol intoxication.
With alcoholism on the rise, what are the factors that make an individual susceptible to its pull?
Alcohol dependence doesn’t happen instantaneously. It’s a gradual process that could take years or even decades to develop. However, some individuals are more susceptible to getting addicted to alcohol. Below are the most common factors that put one at risk of getting dependent on alcoholic drinks:
Scientists say that genetic factors are at play when determining who are most likely to be inclined towards alcoholism as well as other substance and chemical addictions. Individuals who have family background rife with chemical abuse are one. A study conducted by a team from a Spanish university also revealed that a lack of endorphins is hereditary, thus, indicating that a person could be genetically predisposed to be dependent on alcohol.
- Age When First Drank Alcohol
Studies confirmed that the younger a person starts drinking, the more likely he’ll succumb to alcoholism. One such undertaking explicitly stated that those who began drinking alcoholic beverages before they reached 15 were at high risk of having alcohol problems as grownups.
- Peer Influence
Peer influence is especially real for tweens and teens. A teenager might feel the pressure his friends put on him if he won’t follow whatever his crowd is doing – whether they drink, smoke or do other vices. In a sense, the teen may feel what he’s doing isn’t right but at this point in life, the approval he gets from his friends is more vital than that of his parents and other elders.
Tensions and stresses are likewise linked with alcoholism. A person with very high pressure and anxiety levels might turn to alcohol in a bid to numb their inner turbulence. Additionally, depressed people may turn to drink as a DIY method to cure their disorder. Nevertheless, binge drinking only aggravates their condition.
- Media, Advertising Influence
Alcohol (and even cigarette) adverts romanticize drinking, and this romanticization profoundly influences people’s stance about it. Most alcoholic beverages’ ads imbue a “feel good” party vibe with people milling around carrying the advertised brand looking cool, sleek and sexy. These convey the message that drinking is hip, even glamorous. Rare are the adverts that show the darker side of these vices.
Alcoholism is treatable. There are a lot of therapies and programs aimed at alcohol dependents who want to put a stop to their addiction. If you’re an alcoholic, helplines are available. All you have to do is reach out and get hold of them.