Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol dependence, is a mental illness that a person gradually develops over the years. Although most adults drink alcohol either socially or moderately, alcohol consumption only leads to dependence with some people. Learn all about the causes of alcohol addiction, therapy, and rehabilitation to better understand the disease.
Alcohol addiction generalities
Alcohol addiction is called the physical and psychological dependence of the chemical substance ethanol. In the US, alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine are an integral part of the culture and socially recognized. In the US alone, more than 85 percent of adults are known to drink alcohol occasionally.
About 40 million Americans develop a drinking behavior that goes beyond the average level of alcohol consumption. Out of those, nearly 10 million are alcohol dependent. Ten percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 say they drink alcohol at least once a week.
In 2015, the consumption of alcohol per person was at an average of 2.5 gallons of pure alcohol. This kind of addiction can affect young and old people, men and women alike. However, men are three times more likely to be affected than women.
Causes of dependence
The consumption of the same amount of alcohol can make one person dependent but not another. The origins lie in a genetic predisposition, the reasons for the person’s consumption of alcohol, and their social environment. Alcohol lightens the mood in smaller quantities, reduces inhibitions and promotes communication readiness. That is why many people will say they have had positive experiences with alcohol during their younger years.
There is a higher risk of addiction if alcohol use was already “normal” in the user’s family. Especially in adolescents, peer pressure plays a role among friends. Traumatic experiences, especially in childhood, favor the emergence of alcoholism.
Targeted prevention due to a person’s multi-faceted addiction is only conditionally possible. Experts say that, if a man or woman wants to prevent alcoholism, they should drink in moderation. Lastly, people who drink should understand that alcohol is not a stimulant, but rather a drug. To learn more, contact a specialist or see details.