A person’s vulnerability to developing alcoholism depends on many risk factors. Although alcoholism can affect anyone, there are certain groups of people who are more likely to develop the disease. A person’s genetics, psychological factors, and social environment all contribute to their ability to become an alcoholic.
Alcohol abuse, for example, runs in families, but it isn’t caused solely by genetics. Children’s behavior is also influenced by their parents and other role models. You are more likely to develop drinking problems as an adult if you are exposed to alcohol abuse at home. A variety of other social and psychological factors are also more likely to cause drinking problems.
Populations at Higher Risk of Becoming Alcoholics
Alcoholism is more likely to occur in certain groups of people for a variety of reasons. Alcoholism is also more likely to occur in people with certain personality types, such as those who are impulsive or who tend to take risks. Alcoholism is a serious medical condition that can have devastating consequences, so you should be aware of the factors that could put you at risk. Talk to your doctor or a counselor if you think you might be at risk for alcoholism.
The following people are more likely to become alcoholics than the general population:
- Those who have a family history of alcoholism
- Those who suffer from depression or anxiety
- Those who have easy access to alcohol are more likely to develop alcoholism.
Why Family History is a Risk Factor
The history of alcoholism in the family increases one’s risk of developing the disease. Alcoholic parents and other close relatives are more likely to become alcoholics themselves.
It may be genetic factors or living in a family with alcoholism that makes it more acceptable socially. Researchers, however, are not clear why some children from alcoholic families become alcoholics while others do not. Nevertheless, if you have a family history of alcoholism, you should be cautious about drinking and consider seeking help.
Why Mood Disorders Are a Risk Factor
Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety can have profound effects on every aspect of a person’s life. Sleeping, concentrating, and performing simple daily tasks are often difficult for sufferers. Additionally, they may feel hopeless, helpless, and overwhelmed by their symptoms. Self-medicating with alcohol is common among people suffering from depression or anxiety.
Anxiety and depression symptoms can be temporarily relieved by alcohol, a central nervous system depressant. It can, however, also cause a variety of health problems due to its highly addictive nature. Those experiencing mood disorders are more likely to become alcoholics because they use substances to self-medicate.
Why Easy Access to Alcohol Is a Risk Factor
Alcoholism is more likely to develop among people who have easy access to alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). People who have easy access to alcohol are more likely to drink regularly. Regular drinking can cause tolerance and dependence, which means you need to drink more alcohol to get the same effect.
Alcohol dependence can result from tolerance, which is the feeling that one needs alcohol to function normally. Alcohol dependence in turn can lead to addiction, which is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive consumption despite negative consequences. Those who have easy access to alcohol are more likely to develop all of these problems, making them more likely to become alcoholics.
How Anyone Can Be an Alcoholic
It is more likely that you will develop an alcohol addiction if you fall into one or more of these three categories. Still, no one is immune to alcoholism, and anyone can develop the disease. Many people become alcoholics, for instance, because of working in stressful occupations, such as lawyers and police officers, or experiencing post traumatic stress disorder, such as domestic abuse victims or veterans.
You should seek help as soon as possible if you are suffering from alcohol abuse even if you’re not part of a high-risk population. Accepting help is not a sign of shame, and there are many resources available to help you.
Remember that anyone can develop an alcohol addiction and that no one is immune to it, even if you are aware of the risk factors. If you need help, please call us at 833.970.2054. Our counselors can offer guidance on how to achieve sobriety.