Alcohol dependency happens gradually and can take between a few years and decades to develop into a problem. In exceptional cases, addiction can develop within a couple of months.
When alcohol is consumed, the levels of dopamine in the brain are raised and this may make drinking alcohol more gratifying. Medium- to long term drinking excessively will change the levels of brain chemicals significantly, resulting in the body craving alcohol so that it can feel good and escape feeling bad.
The following 10 risk factors are associated with “causes of alcoholism“:
Authorities note an association between easy access to alcohol (cheaply priced) and alcohol abuse. US research identified strong correlation between the alcohol tax increase in 1983 and again in 2002, and a significant drop in alcohol related deaths. The effect was between two and four times more effective than that of any other prevention strategy, including media campaigns and school programs.
Research shows that specific genetic factors put some people at higher risk to become addicted to alcohol and other substances. People with a family history of addiction are more likely to abuse alcohol. Alcoholics have a six times higher chance than nonalcoholics do to have relatives who are dependent on alcohol. Scientists from the Universidad de Granada, Spain, found that the lack of endorphins is hereditary. This results in a genetic predisposition to become an alcoholic.
Alcoholism is linked to stress When anxiety or stress levels are high, some people consume alcohol attempting to blank out the causes of stress. According to studies done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, military personnel returning from Afghanistan or Iraq often experience alcohol use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder at the same time.
The age of first alcoholic drink
Research shows that people who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are more likely to develop an alcohol related problem later on in life. According to a report issued by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) in the USA, 26.6% of Americans under the legal alcohol consumption age drink. Although progress has been made to reduce underage drinking in the short term, especially with children under 17 years of age, the underage drinking rate in the USA is still excessively high. 7% of the 12 to 20 year olds who admitted to drinking alcohol in the previous four weeks had purchased it themselves. Pamela S. Hyde, an Administrator at SAMHSA believes that drinking when underage should not be part of growing up. This persistent and serious public health problem endangers young people and communities. Although drinking is often romanticized, the reality is that underage drinking could lead to sexual assault, injury, poor grades and even death.
Friends who drink regularly
It is more probable that people with friends who abuse alcohol, or drink regularly, will also drink excessively and that could eventually lead to an alcohol problem.
Alcohol is shown as worldly, glamorous and cool in some countries. Numerous experts feel that the media coverage of alcohol and alcohol advertising may send the message that excessive drinking is okay. The Royal College of Physicians has asked for a ban on alcohol advertising in the European Union to protect children.
People with a lower self-esteem are more likely to abuse alcohol if it is readily available.
People suffering from depression may use alcohol unwittingly, or deliberately to self-treat. A statistical modeling study however suggests that alcohol abuse could lead to the risk of depression, rather than the other way around.
Yale University researchers conducted a study that showed thatsmokers are five times more likely to develop alcohol problems than people who have never smoked.
How the body metabolizes alcohol
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that people who needed more alcohol to feel an effect have a higher risk of developing an alcohol problem.