Why People Become Alcoholics
How Did We Get to Alcoholism
If you’re anything like me, you started drinking in high school with your friends. It seemed like the cool thing to do. You partied on weekends, but never drank during the week. You hid it from your parents, even though they were drinkers themselves.
And then you turned 18. Maybe you headed for college, where binge drinking seemed to be the extracurricular pastime of many students there. At least the ones you were drawn to. You may even have gotten a DUI, but so did a lot of kids. What’s the big deal?
This is how it begins for many alcoholics. It may be peer pressure that got you into drinking, or it may have been watching your parents drink, sometimes to an excess, modeling a dysfunctional problem-solving behavior that doesn’t usually work. But you started drinking and liked the way it made you feel. It brought you out of your shell. It took away the fear and insecurities you had, ones that infect most of us at that time in our lives, while setting out to face the overwhelming task of growing up.
Risk Factors for Alcoholism
Alcohol is a drug that blocks out emotional pain, due to this it has a strong draw for adolescents and young adults. Those who might find the confusion of feelings associated with the looming responsibilities of adulthood a major challenge. For example, famed author Stephen King was fueled by his fears and wrote them into his novels. According to his biographer, his dysfunctional childhood and abandonment by his father fueled much of his drinking. As with many alcoholics, unresolved childhood trauma pushes us to drink. And the more we drink the more dependent we become on the substance.
Genes Are Responsible For 1/2 the Risk
According to a study “Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism. Therefore, genes alone do not determine whether someone will become an alcoholic. Environmental factors, as well as gene and environment interactions account for the remainder of the risk.”
As for me, three factors influenced my drinking. There were the genes, as I come from a hefty line of alcoholics. Both my parents each drank anywhere from two to six or more drinks on a daily basis. I had a traumatic childhood, in the form of abandonment for an extended period of time; my mother was hospitalized with TB, and I was shipped off to stay with other families for a span of two and a half years. And finally, I grew up with two alcoholic parents who fought vigorously. It deeply affected my emotional well-being as well as my siblings. We all ended up with issues involving alcohol.
If you have alcoholism in your lineage, there’s a strong chance you may become dependent on alcohol, too.
If one or both parents modeled using alcohol as a way to avoid their problems, you may end up doing the same.
If you experienced some kind of unresolved childhood trauma, you may use alcohol to mask the pain.
Where Alcoholics Can Go For Help
Take a self-assessment test for alcohol problems.
If you think you have a drinking problem, chances are you probably do. It might be helpful to take this self-test issued by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Seek out support groups.
If the test leans towards a problem, attending a family counseling meeting at Shafa Home may be the next good place to go. Try a few different meetings before making a decision which one is best for you.
Seek one-on-one professional help.
Talking to a psychologist, therapist or counselor will also help.
Look into treatment centers that treat alcoholism.
Many mental health clinics offer intensive outpatient programs, often referred to as IOPs, for those seeking help for alcohol and substance abuse. While residential rehab may work for some, other people find that a treatment center is the best option for them.
Make sure the family is treated.
Family counseling meetings at Shafa Home, which requires family participation and training, is also helpful.
Shafa Home is a residential treatment facility and nasha mukti kendra offering complete treatment for Alcohol addiction.
We encourage you to contact one of our counsellors today if you are concerned about Alcohol Addiction.