Why do People Turn to Alcohol?

While most people enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the football, for some, alcohol is something that is used to make them feel better. Some individuals drink alcohol to dull the pain of a previous traumatic experience or to help them forget things that they are stressed out about.

Alcohol is a depressant that affects the body in many ways. Some people find that when they drink alcohol, they can relax, and it helps them to temporarily forget the things that are bothering them. However, if it gets to the point that alcohol is required for the person to be able to cope or function, then it is time to get help.

Reasons People Drink

Some individuals drink alcohol to be sociable; it is widely encouraged in the UK, with many young people waiting for the day they turn eighteen so that they can have their first alcoholic drink. Others like the taste of it, and may enjoy a glass of fine wine every so often.

Nevertheless, others drink because they enjoy the effects of alcohol. They drink purely to get drunk or because, while under the influence of alcohol, they do not have to think about their life. There are many reasons people drink; some believe that it gives them the confidence they are lacking, others do not want to remember the pain of losing a loved one, and even more drink to cope with a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. Many fail to realise that the more they drink, the more likely they are to develop a problem, which will eventually make their problems even worse.

Risk Factors for Alcoholism

There is no one single cause of alcoholism, but there are factors that make some people more susceptible to developing it. Addiction is an illness that can affect anyone, no matter what age they are, where they come from, or whether they are male or female. There is no way to tell who will and who will not develop an alcohol addiction, but there are ways to determine if a person is more likely to be affected.

  • Family History – Those with a family history of alcoholism have a higher chance of becoming addicted to alcohol than someone who does not have a family history of the illness. Scientists believe that genes account for around half the total risk for alcoholism. If a biological parent is affected by alcoholism, the child is four times more likely to become affected than someone with a non-alcoholic parent.
  • Traumatic Experiences – Trauma is a major risk factor for alcoholism, especially unresolved trauma. Those who have experienced bullying; the death of a loved one; domestic violence; physical, sexual or emotional abuse; or are living with a mentally ill parent, have a high risk of becoming an alcoholic. Those who have experienced numerous traumatic experiences are even more likely to be affected.
  • Environment – While the area alone should not affect your risk for addiction, a combination of factors can increase the risk. For example, if one grew up in an area where teenage drinking is prevalent and peers drank regularly, the individual may be more likely to try alcohol. However, if alcohol consumption was also normal in the family home, the person may be more likely to become addicted.
  • Mental Health Issues – Alcoholism is often the cause of mental health disorders, but the opposite can also be true. Some people drink alcohol because they are suffering from mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. They believe that the alcohol provides relief, and it may well do; however, this will only be temporary. If those with a mental health problem also develop an addiction, they are ultimately going to have double the problems.
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