Social and Psychological Causes of Alcoholism: Why People Drink

5 most common causes of alcoholism and what to do next

They’ll do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits. Although the exact cause of alcohol use disorder is unknown, there are certain factors that may increase your risk why do people become alcoholics for developing this disease. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death.

Engaging in behavior that has harmful effects

There are regular, free group meetings in most cities and towns. Alongside other therapies, such groups can play a critical role. Finding social support can be a critical aspect of managing AUD. Knowing that others are going through what you are can help with the loneliness and stigma and support you when you’re struggling. Another important factor that influences the risk of alcohol on the body is nutrition. Alcohol and nutrition can interact in a number of ways—heavy alcohol use can interfere with nutrition while alcohol/nutrition interacts can impact gene expression.

Off-label treatment for alcohol use disorder is linked to slower liver decline, study suggests

5 most common causes of alcoholism and what to do next

Someone with the disorder may spend a great deal of time drinking or thinking about drinking. Drinking more than intended may include drinking larger amounts of alcohol or drinking longer than a person planned to. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) involves a pattern of alcohol use that causes problems that may include excess drinking and interference with relationships or work.

  • If you find that you’re feeling down, take a healthier route to feel better.
  • “This can make people more prone to developing problems with coordination or balance,” increasing their risk of falls.
  • There are effective ways to treat this disease and steps you can take to help a loved one enter recovery.

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  • If you survive an overdose without these complications, your long-term outlook will be very good.
  • People may want a drink so much that it is all they think about.
  • An estimated one-third of alcohol abusers report experiencing a mental illness.
  • An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help.

Withdrawal, for those physically dependent on alcohol, is much more dangerous than withdrawal from heroin or other narcotic drugs. Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are now grouped together under the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. When healthcare providers screen for AUD, they look at drinking behavior patterns within the last year to determine a diagnosis. They use 11 criteria established by the DSM-5 to assess alcohol use severity. Online and community-based recovery groups can also be helpful during alcohol withdrawal and addiction treatment. A support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART recovery, can help you feel less isolated and provide an opportunity to learn from and connect with others with similar problems and shared experiences.

5 most common causes of alcoholism and what to do next

Several evidence-based treatment approaches are available for AUD. One size does not fit all and a treatment approach that may work for one person may not work for another. Treatment can be outpatient and/or inpatient and be provided by specialty programs, therapists, and health care providers. Alcohol use disorder can cause serious and lasting damage to your liver.

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By identifying and naming what is happening, you will have a better chance to resist the temptations they create. My favorite tool is keeping Sobriety Gratitude Logs, which I share in my free Monthly Sober Curious Magazine. It will help you focus on the positive aspects of sobriety and counterbalance the distorted memories of drinking. Little do we know that once we take that one drink, the illusion of control shatters, and saying no to the next drink becomes even harder. This is called the abstinence violation effect; since we have already “fallen off the wagon,” we might as well go the whole way. The “harmless” one drink pulls us right back to the old drinking cycle.

What is unhealthy drinking?

The therapy goals are to develop the skills needed to manage your habits, build social support, set and work toward realistic goals, and deal with or avoid things that trigger drinking. If you’ve lost a loved one, gotten divorced or got fired from your job, you’re likely dealing with grief, pain and loss. For the time being, alcohol might make you feel joyful and carefree, but if you develop alcoholism, your grief and pain will get worse. Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is a common practice among individuals struggling with substance use disorder.

5 most common causes of alcoholism and what to do next

No, alcohol isn’t good for you. Will new dietary guidelines be shaped more by health or industry interests?


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