Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment

These factors include genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain, culture, peer pressure, high levels of stress, childhood trauma and abuse, as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. A third definition, behavioral in nature, defines alcoholism as a disorder in which alcohol assumes marked salience in the individual’s life and in which the individual experiences a loss of control over its desired use. Clinicians call causes of alcoholism such a behavioral disorder a disease because it persists for years, is strongly hereditary, and is a major cause of death and disability. In addition, alcohol permanently alters the brain’s plasticity with regard to free choice over beginning or stopping drinking episodes. As with other medical diseases but unlike most bad habits, prospective studies demonstrate that willpower per se is of little predictive significance.

Drinking alone when younger linked to alcoholism in mid-30s – CNN

Drinking alone when younger linked to alcoholism in mid-30s.

Posted: Mon, 11 Jul 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Support groups help many people who are dealing with alcohol use. Talk to your provider about a support group that might be right for you. However, many people who drink too much find they can’t just cut back.


There are many risk factors involved in the potential for developing alcoholism. Alcoholism risk factors do not mean you will develop a drinking problem; however, they should serve as a prevention measure. If you have one or more risk factors, speak with a medical health professional about alcoholism warning signs and prevention resources. A person’s drinking history significantly increases their likelihood of developing an AUD. Alcohol use rewires the brain to desire and depend upon alcohol, and these effects are cumulative.

A person who experiences feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth may start drinking alcohol more frequently to numb intrusive thoughts. When a person does not have a positive self-image, they may care less about the consequences of heavy or frequent drinking. If individuals are able to monitor their alcohol intake in a healthy, recommended manner, this can prevent them from experiencing the many potential hardships that can follow alcohol abuse. Beyond these symptoms, drinking alone is also a major warning sign. If a person feels the compulsion to drink outside of social settings, this can indicate that they are starting to develop alcoholic behavior and may need an intervention. Heavy drinking can cause increased fat in the liver and inflammation of the liver . Over time, heavy drinking can cause irreversible destruction and scarring of liver tissue .

Dual addictions and dependencies

The younger that an individual starts consuming alcohol, the more likely they are to develop alcoholism later in life. This is especially true of individuals who start drinking before 15. Since there isn’t one exact cause of alcoholism, experts instead identify “risk factors” as potentials for development.

At what point are you an alcoholic?

For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.

Your environment, life choices, and personality also play a critical role. People with AUD often lose friends or family because of their drinking. They might have difficulties sustaining meaningful relations, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ resulting in breakups or divorce. These traumatic events can lead to feelings of isolation, self-harm activities, and thoughts of suicide. Several tools may be used to detect a loss of control of alcohol use.