The Effects and Causes of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol can impact the human body with only one sip. While one glass per day won’t do much harm, drinking excessively could have a significant negative effect and can be one of the causes of alcohol addiction as well as other harmful side effects. For example, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, prolonged exposure to alcohol can cause pancreatic digestive enzymes to act abnormally and lead to inflammation, which is referred to as pancreatitis.
Drinking too much alcohol can also increase your risk of chronic liver inflammation and liver disease as well as frontal lobe damage during long-term exposure. Additionally, those who drink heavily tend to develop a dependency on alcohol and, thereafter, become addicted to it.
Causes of Alcohol Addiction
What makes a person an alcoholic? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there are many causes of alcohol addiction including social, psychological, genetic, and environmental elements.
These factors can all impact how alcohol can affect both behavior and the body. Certain people are at higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol. Over time, drinking too much alcohol could lead to an inability to control behavior.
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Some typical alcohol addiction facts and risk factors for alcohol dependence include:
- Drinking at an early age. The younger a person is when beginning to drink, particularly binge drinking, the higher the likelihood for addiction. For example, those who start binge drinking in their teens have a higher risk of developing alcohol addiction in their 20s and 30s.
- Genetics and family history. The risk for alcohol dependency rises for people who have a parent or another close family member diagnosed with an addiction to alcohol. This could mean there is a genetic link between family members.
- Depression and mental health. Another risk factor for alcohol dependency includes depression. Alcohol and depression can sometimes go hand-in-hand. In general, certain mental health disorders can increase the likelihood that a person will abuse alcohol. Along with depression, people with psychological issues such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder can commonly end up with an alcohol dependency problem.
- Culture and social life. Often, having close friends or a spouse that drinks regularly increases your risk of developing alcohol dependence. Parents, peers, and family members can all have an impact on whether you drink responsibly or not.
How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Alcohol?
There is no simple answer to determine how long it takes for someone to end up with an addiction to alcohol. It may take weeks or years depending on the person. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some typical symptoms of alcoholism include the following:
- Inability to quit drinking
- Difficulty reducing the level of alcohol intake
- Incapable of controlling how much you drink
- Continuing to drink even though it is harming your relationships at home and at work
- Stopping other activities or hobbies in order to drink
- Suffering from withdrawal symptoms if suddenly stopping alcohol intake
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According to the National Clinical Guidelines Centre, some withdrawal symptoms include:
- Stomach pain
Often, these symptoms and addiction itself can come when people least expect it. You may think you’re only drinking to relieve stress or have a good time with friends. However, you may find out that only two or three weeks of heavy drinking could lead to alcohol addiction.
Alcohol Addiction Effects
Are you addicted to alcohol? There are various signs that can determine whether or not you are addicted to alcohol. If any of the symptoms below sound like something you’ve faced, it may be time to seek professional help in order to treat this problem before it progresses and harms your life any further.
- Binge drinking and blacking out or forgetting the day/night before
- Relationship problems due to your drinking
- Drinking more than you initially wanted to
- Feeling shame or guilt when it comes to your drinking
- Hiding your drinking habits from others
- Craving a drink in order to feel better or reduce stress
- Neglecting your responsibilities at the office due to your drinking, i.e. missing work if you are drunk or hungover
- Drinking and driving or using alcohol in other dangerous situations
- Facing legal problems due to your drinking, i.e. disorderly conduct charges or driving while under the influence
If you have faced any of these problems, or if you find yourself suffering from withdrawal symptoms if stopping alcohol intake, seeking professional help is extremely important to improve your overall well-being.
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Seeking Help for Alcoholism
Since alcohol addiction is a widespread problem, there are countless nationwide rehabilitation programs and professionals that can help people who are struggling with alcoholism. Find Addiction Rehabs assists in helping you find the right treatment facility and great resources to defeat your addiction to alcohol. Call our 24-hour hotline today at 877-959-7271.