Alcoholism What Are The Causes and Risk Factors?

This pattern, in turn, leads family, physicians, and others to be less likely to suspect that a woman they know has alcohol use disorder. In contrast, reduced fear of stigma may lead men to admit that they are having a medical condition, to display their drinking publicly, and to drink in groups. This pattern, in turn, leads family, physicians, and others to be more likely to suspect that a man they know is someone with an alcohol use disorder. A BAC of 0.09% to 0.25% causes lethargy, sedation, balance problems and blurred vision.

causes of alcoholism

Alcohol itself is a sedative-hypnotic and is cross-tolerant with other sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Dependence upon and withdrawal from sedative-hypnotics can be medically severe and, as with alcohol withdrawal, there is a risk of psychosis or seizures if not properly managed. Women develop long-term complications of alcohol dependence more rapidly than do men, women also have a higher mortality rate from alcoholism than men. Examples of long-term complications include brain, heart, and liver damage and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Stressful Environments

Underage drinkers are more likely to become alcoholics at some point in their lives. Chronic heavy alcohol use can also cause long-term problems affecting many organs and systems of the body.

Heart medication shows potential as treatment for alcohol use … – National Institute on Drug Abuse

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The WHO calls alcoholism “a term of long-standing use and variable meaning”, and use of the term was disfavored by a 1979 WHO expert committee. If you or someone you know is experiencing two or more of the above symptoms, it may signify the presence of alcoholism. Alcohol consumption by an expectant mother may cause fetal alcohol syndrome and pre-term birth complications. A causal relationship has been established between harmful drinking and incidence or outcomes of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Overall, 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years . Residing in a family or culture where alcohol use is common and accepted.

Impact on your health

Heavy drinking has long been considered an acceptable practice among teens and young adults ages 18 to 34, and keeping that drinking going past this age is a factor in what causes alcoholism. This rings true for young adults who binge drink in high school and college.

  • This makes you want to drink more often, even if it causes harm.
  • Rationing and moderation programs such as Moderation Management and DrinkWise do not mandate complete abstinence.
  • However, a person who has not yet developed a biological dependence on alcohol may still choose to drink maladaptively despite being aware of warning signs or personal risk factors.
  • Due to medical problems that can occur during withdrawal, alcohol cessation should be controlled carefully.
  • Struggling with drinking problems from so early in life makes it more difficult to recover and increases the person’s chance of requiring alcoholism treatment to get sober.

The typical age range when the greatest amount of alcohol abuse occurs is between 18 and 29. And sadly, deaths causes of alcoholism related to alcohol consumption have made it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Risk factors

About half of people with a mental health condition will also have a substance use disorder in their lifetime. Among adolescents with serious mental health conditions, more than 60% also use substances and can have a substance use disorder like alcoholism. An informed minority opinion, especially among sociologists, believes that the medicalization of alcoholism is an error. Unlike most disease symptoms, the loss of control over drinking does not hold true at all times or in all situations.

What are the causes and effects of alcoholism?

Typically, alcoholism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. This form of addiction usually causes damage to a person's mental, physical, and emotional health, and will require professional help to overcome.

Acamprosate is a medication that can help re-establish the brain’s original chemical state before alcohol dependence. Behavioral treatments, also known as alcohol counseling or “talk therapy,” provided by licensed therapists are aimed at changing drinking behavior. Examples of behavioral treatments are brief interventions and reinforcement approaches, treatments that build motivation and teach skills for coping and preventing relapse, and mindfulness-based therapies. Healthcare professionals use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), to assess whether a person has AUD and to determine the severity if the disorder is present.

Personality and Personal Choice Factors

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21. Alcoholism is a treatable disease, but it can result in severe health problems if ignored. Reach out to a free helpline where you can get information about the causes of alcoholism, options to recovery, and various programs for addiction treatment. Teenagers are more vulnerable to peer pressure, as they are still learning to control their behaviors and impulses. They often find it hard to resist peer pressure especially from older and more experienced people. It is important to guide children and teenagers about the positive and negative impacts of peer pressure, as well as the consequences of underage alcohol drinking.

  • Almost 70% of survey participants had consumed alcohol during their shift.
  • It can be easily concluded that one of the strong causes of alcoholism among young people is peer pressure.
  • Even if alcohol temporarily eases symptoms of depression and anxiety, drinking frequently can lead to a high tolerance and, eventually, alcoholism.
  • They’ll do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits.
  • Seven Hills Hospital helps individuals struggling with alcohol addictionbuild a strong foundation for lasting recovery.

Being an alcoholic or having an alcohol use disorder involves a problematic level of drinking that begins to affect a person’s social, emotional and physical health. Though there is no singular cause behind alcohol addiction, many different factors can contribute to its development. The disease of addiction targets people regardless of their sex, gender, race, religion or socioeconomic status, but learning about the condition can help shed light on the causes of alcoholism and possible solutions.