Alcohol dependence risk factors
People become addicted to alcohol for many reasons. Researchers group them into three categories: biological, psychological, and social factors. Their combinations may be different, but the presence of one of them is enough for addiction. Who is at risk of alcohol dependence?
Biological factors that increase the risk of falling into alcoholism
Several decades ago, alcoholism was considered to be inherited. It turned out, however, that from our ancestors we can only inherit the addiction predisposition gene. Recent studies have shown that there are two genes that are likely responsible for the development of alcoholism: chromosome 13 and chromosome Y36.
Another biological factor that increases the risk of alcoholism is how the body responds to ethyl alcohol. As it turns out – everyone can react differently due to the individual combination of enzymes involved in the transformation of alcohol. This is one of the reasons why some people feel sick and feel bad after drinking alcohol, while others experience relaxation and a state of bliss.
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How we feel under the influence of alcohol makes us reach for it again – this is how the positive reinforcement system works. In summary, the more alcohol improves our mood, the greater the risk of becoming addicted.
Mental factors that increase the risk of alcohol dependence
Our mechanisms largely depend on our personality traits. For this reason, who we are has an impact on the frequency of reaching for the glass. According to experts, the key features that bring us closer to addiction are:
– excessive dependence on other people – lack of life independence;
– emotional immaturity – emotionally immature people react inadequately to the situation. They break down quickly and have a tendency to run away, which is why they find alcohol a tempting alternative;
– Inability to express emotions – human emotions are like soup that is on fire. If you do not open the lid, the soup will boil over even with a small flame. It’s the same with emotions. Unexpressed emotions will “boil over” sooner or later, but it will happen out of our control. Previously repressed emotions will cause a feeling of frustration, anger and tension. Alcohol releases emotions and if we do not show them in a controlled manner, alcohol will become the only remedy for us.
– low self-esteem – alcohol gives a false sense of power and false self-confidence. For those struggling with low self-esteem, alcohol can be a source of relief.
– low resistance to frustration and stress – the tendency to discuss minor problems and experience great disappointments for just any reason is another factor that brings you closer to addiction. People who cannot regulate their stress levels on a daily basis may be drinking more frequently.
In addition, experts distinguished the so-called anti-social personality. Its owners are extremely vulnerable to alcohol addiction. They are people turned against society, ignoring bans and orders, negating social norms. Antisocial people cannot live with others in the world around them, so alcohol will be a convenient alternative for them.