Alcoholism is a complex ailment, and every case is unique to the individual in question. There are many causes and risk factors, and even then, they do not determine the specifics of one’s condition. For instance, an individual with few risk factors may suffer severe alcoholism, and one with many risk factors may have no problem with alcohol. Either way, the best way to address the cause of alcoholism and work towards recovery is by visiting a rehab center. There are inpatient and outpatient Los Angeles programs to cater to different lifestyles and degrees of alcoholism. Do you know someone who’s battling alcohol addiction? Below we look at the most prominent causes of alcoholism and other important information you should know about the same.
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcoholism has been baptized many names in the past, the most recent being alcohol use disorder. But, the pangs of this disease remain evident to this day. Alcohol addiction occurs when you drink so much that you end up becoming addicted to or dependent on alcohol. Once you become dependent on alcohol, it takes first place in your life; sometimes even over family, health, social life and work.
There are other instances where one consumes alcohol to the point that it causes problems in their life, but they aren’t physically dependent on it. Some alcohol addiction professionals refer to this as alcohol abuse.
Causes of Alcohol Addiction
There is no known cause for alcohol addiction. It usually develops when an individual consumes it to the point that chemical changes occur in their brain. These chemical changes elicit a pleasurable, sometimes euphoric, feeling when you consume alcohol, prompting you to drink more and disregard the dangers alcohol poses to your health and life generally. While the pleasurable sensations associated with alcohol subside with time, they are replaced by withdrawal symptoms which can be hard on your mind and body. If you were drinking to maintain pleasurable feelings, you will keep drinking to dissipate the withdrawal symptoms.
It is important to note that alcohol addiction doesn’t happen overnight; it develops gradually until it becomes a full-blown disorder. Alcohol addiction is also known to run in the family unit.
Alcohol Addiction Risk Factors
While there is no specific cause for alcohol use disorder, there are several factors that increase your risk of developing alcohol addiction. Some of the known risk factors include;
- Suffering from a mental health condition such as schizophrenia, anxiety or depression
- Living with a parent with an alcohol addiction
- Binge drinking – having more than 5 drinks a day more than once a week
- Having more than 12 drinks if you are female and 15 drinks if you are male in a week
The risk of alcohol addiction increases if you;
- Have a close relative struggling with alcohol addiction
- Live in a setting or family where excessive alcohol use is common
- Are under extreme stress
- Have low self-esteem
- Are a teenager or young adult facing peer pressure
Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
You can decipher some symptoms of alcohol addiction from the behavior and physical effects of one’s alcohol use disorder. People with alcohol addiction are likely to engage in the following;
- Eating poorly or failing to eat altogether
- Drinking alone
- Having a high tolerance for alcohol
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Becoming aggressive when questioned about their drinking behavior
- Skipping school or work to drink
- Inability to control alcohol intake
- Giving up recreational, occupational and social activities to drink or due to alcohol use
- Continuing to drink despite experiencing economic, social and legal problems
- Making excuses to drink
Alcohol addiction may also manifest itself in the following physical symptoms;
- Memory lapses after a drinking spree
- Craving alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and shaking when not drinking
- Illnesses such as cirrhosis and alcoholic ketoacidosis which have dehydration-like symptoms
Alcohol Addiction Diagnosis
Drawing the line between moderate alcohol use and misuse can be challenging. That is why we recommend speaking to a professional if you think you might have an alcohol problem. However, you can conduct a self-test of the same to determine if you need professional help. If your answer to the below questions is yes, you may have an alcohol problem;
- Do you have to drink more to feel the effects of alcohol?
- Do you become aggressive when you’re drinking?
- Have you experienced work or school problems because of drinking?
- Do you think you ought to cut back on alcohol use?
Alcohol addiction can cause serious damage to your liver and problems in your social and work life. The best way to address the root cause of alcohol misuse and start recovery is through rehabilitation or residential treatment programs. For instance, if you reside in Los Angeles, you can research the residential drug rehab center los angeles to find out if they’d be a suitable fit for your particular needs and level of addiction and start your consultation. A professional will recommend inpatient or outpatient treatment based on the severity of your condition.