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Cause of Alcohol Addiction

What is it that makes one person become addicted to alcohol after just a few nights of drinking and another person able to drink for months or even years on end without ever developing a physical or psychological dependence? The reasons behind alcohol addiction and the causes of alcohol addiction are not always set in stone; they may differ from one person to the next and cannot always be seen prior to the addiction setting in. Some can drink regularly, even heavily without ever becoming addicted while others may find themselves physically dependent on alcohol after moderate use for even a short period of time.

Certain risk factors can give way to the likelihood of an individual becoming addicted to alcohol but there are not set guarantees either way. Some of the factors that put you at the greatest risk of becoming addicted if you drink include:

  • family history of alcoholism
  • having two parents that drank alcohol regularly in the home
  • having an underlying mental health condition
  • drinking emotionally

It is thought that alcoholism could even be caused by genetic, psychological, social or even environmental factors. Each of the above factors that place you at an increased risk could be the result of one or more of these causes. For instance, genetically, those who come from a family which has a history of alcoholism are potentially predisposed to the potential for becoming addicted to alcohol.

Having parents that both drink in the home would be considered an environmental factor. Psychological causes of alcohol addiction may include drinking to mask emotions or to feel better or drinking to cover up a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. Socially, alcohol consumption is quite common among friends, at family gatherings or holiday parties but social drinking can lead to alcohol addiction for some people—but not for all.

Becoming addicted to alcohol typically takes time and does not happen with just one drink. While some people are genetically, socially or psychologically predisposed to be at a greater risk of becoming addicted to alcohol, even these people will typically have to drink for a prolonged period of time before they actually become addicted. As time progresses, drinking can alter the normal chemical balance of the brain and the body making it difficult to feel pleasure without alcohol, altering judgment and reducing the ability to control behaviors.

While the causes of alcohol addiction can be different from one individual to the next, the end result is psychologically craving the substance in order to physically feel better, feel pleasure or otherwise restore happiness. Unfortunately, alcohol addiction has many consequences and can lead to long-term problems that will progress with time and can ultimately lead to death. If you or someone you love is addicted to alcohol, treatment is available. We can help you find alcohol addiction treatment that will restore your physical and emotional health.

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