You probably knew some people who have problems with alcoholism. Oftentimes, they end up in misery because they don’t seek help or other people neglect to see their need for professional help.
Alcoholism can be described as the strong craving for alcoholic drink. It is also considered a disorder resulting from abuse of alcohol or dependence to it.
Mental illness may arise from alcohol or substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 1 in 5 Ameicans who are 18 years old and above had mental health disorders. This is roughly 45 million people.
Alcohol can seriously affect major body organs, too. The liver, heart, brain, pancreas and even the immune system are affected with alcohol abuse.
Help someone prevent or overcome alcohol addiction by knowing the following alcoholism facts.
1. Trying alcohol at an early age
Young people love to experiment and explore. One thing they do at an early age is drink alcoholic beverages. Girls are likely as boys to indulge in drinking more particularly, binge drinking.
Drinking at a young age is very risky since teenagers tend to be violent leading to fights when drunk. Too much drinking can also lead to accidents especially car accidents.
The risk of developing alcohol problems later in life is also high for young people. In the US, a survey has found that young people between the ages of 12 and 20 have taken alcohol at least once.
How do you discourage your teenagers from trying alcohol? Telling them not to drink will only make them curious.
It depends on how parents handle this issue. Some things may work. Making teenagers aware of the effect of alcohol abuse can deter them from trying it. They have the freedom to make their own choice. You can only guide them to make the right decisions. But aving parents who are non-drinkers is a good way to stop them from turning into alcoholics.
2. Alcoholism and depression
There has been a strong link between depression and alcohol abuse. Research have proven about one third of persons suffering from major depression are also alcoholics.
The American Psychological Association stated that depression can be exacerbated by alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Or it can induce anxiety, serious memory loss or depression.
Someone who is depressed usually finds alcoholic beverages as an escape to momentarily overcome sorrows and misery.
Adults and teenagers alike can suffer from depression. But teenagers suffering from a major depression are twice more likely to crave for alcohol than does who do not suffer from depression. This is alarming and something that parents and school should be concerned about.
3. Stress-induced alcoholism
Stress is another reason why persons abuse alcohol. Exposure to stressors each day can make a person disposed to take alcohol. For recovering alcoholics, it can result to relapse to alcohol abuse.
People resort to drinking alcohol to cope with stress. What they think is a short term relief to stress can become an addiction or dependence. Without realizing, it can add to the anxiety at home, work or school.
Finding effective ways to relieve stress is the first step to prevent alcoholism. There are various stress management techniques to adapt such as having a sports, hobby or recreation.
However, based on clinical studies such relation between stress and alcohol haven’t been clearly established. There is no concrete theory to support that people use alcohol to reduce stress.
4. Genetics of alcoholism
If you are an alcoholic and one or both of your parents were alcoholic, does it mean that alcoholism runs in your genes? The truth is alcohol use disorder (AUD ) can be inherited. This is according to the National Institute ofn Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. Alcoholism genes, as they call it, seem to be the cause of half of all the cases of AUD. But the genetics of alcoholism is something complicated.
There are also genes related to alcoholism that may decrease risk of developing AUD. It has been discovered that some Asians carry a gene which changes the rate of alcohol metabolism by which these persons experience nausea and faster heartbeat. These symptoms make them avoid alcoholic drinks and prevent them from developing AUD.
5. Dopamine system
Dopamine is an organic chemical essential for normal brain and body function. It functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain.
Alcohol is can interact with neurotransmitter in the brain. It makes the action of alcohol in the brain more complex. It affects the dopamine system by increasing the dopamine in the brain reward center. This produces the feeling of wanting to drink more alcohol to get more dopamine release.
6. Euphoria with endorphins
A study has proven that alcohol can initiate the release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones known as endogenous opioid neuropeptides and peptide. They are found in the central nervous system.
Endorphins are released also when performing strenous activities, when in pain and during an orgasm. Endorphins relieve pain and heighten feeling of pleasure or euphoria. So the more you drink, the more pleasure you get.
The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter which blocks some impulses existing between nerve cells in the brain. Alcohol can replicate the activity of this neurotransmitter. This makes the drinker feel relaxed after drinking.
Alcohol does not increase GABA but increases the release amount of serotonin and dopamine, stimulating the reward centers in tbe brain.
8. Family history
Similar to genes, family history can be a factor in alcoholism. Not all alcoholic parents though had children who became alcoholics, too.
But family history may increase risk of suffering from alcohol. According to a research, a child of an alcoholic has a 300 percent chance to be having the same problem of alcohol abuse than of a child whose parents are non-drinkers or non-alcoholics.
9. Social factors
Social factors relate to alcohol consumption. It is a reason for a person’s vulnerability to alcohol abuse.
People with more money to spare are surely to engage in a lot of social activities. That includes splurging money in excessive drinking.
Having friends or officemates who are habitual drinkers will always influence others to drink. Many studies concluded that ialcoholism can adversely affect the relationship between the alcoholic and the family.
There are several risk factors to developing alcoholism. So it is very important to understanding what can trigger someone to abuse alcohol or be an alcoholic. This way, you will be able to identify signs and symptoms and address the drinking problem before it worsens.