Factors That Determine If You Will Develop an Addiction
Not everyone who uses alcohol will develop a physical or psychological dependence to it. There are many factors that play a role in whether someone will develop an addiction to alcohol. For instance, if someone begins drinking as the result of a stressful event in one’s life, such as a death in the family or the loss of one’s job.
The continued consumption of alcohol can slowly contribute to alcoholism, especially if it’s used to numb negative feelings. Still, for others, alcoholism might develop because of a genetic predisposition to addiction. Of course, anyone who is abusing alcohol regularly is at the greatest risk for developing a dependence.
But it’s important to note the difference between abuse and addiction. Alcoholism is the condition of having a dependence to the substance while alcohol abuse is simply the overusing and abusing of alcohol. Alcoholism may include all the consequences that come with alcohol abuse, such as poor health, hangovers, poor relationships, and more.
If Alcohol Treatment Is Necessary
However, in both cases, alcohol addiction treatment might be necessary.
In order to provide the best treatment for addiction, experts continue to administer research to understand the illness in more depth. One study on the varieties of alcoholism was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2007. The study explored the various types of alcohol addiction in the United States.
The researchers took 1,484 adults who had also participated in a national survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) from 2001 to 2002. This study explored the answers of the national survey and focused on alcohol dependence as it relates to one’s personality, family history of alcoholism, and other substance use.
By analyzing the data in this way, they were able to define five specific categories of alcoholics. These are:
This category account for about 32% of alcoholics in the United States. They tend to binge drink, starting at about age 20 and developing an alcohol dependence relatively quickly. Although they might drink less frequently than other alcoholics, the binge drinking contributes to the alcoholism.
Young Antisocial Adult
This group accounts for about 21% of U.S. alcoholics. They tend to start drinking early and are alcoholics by age 18. They are also more likely to engage in other forms of substance use, such as nicotine and marijuana. And they tend to have symptoms of an antisocial personality disorder.
This group accounts for 19% of U.S. alcoholics. They are generally middle aged men and women who work and who have stable relationships. They also tend to be educated, have higher incomes, and drink every other day. When they drink, they tend to have five or more drinks.
Intermediate Family Member
This group accounts for 19% of all U.S. alcoholics. Almost half of those in this group have close relatives who are alcoholics. Those in this group typically began drinking at age 17 and were alcoholics by age 30.
Chronic and Severe Alcoholic
This is the rarest type, making up only 9% of all U.S. alcoholics. This group tends to be male, but not all of those in this group are men. Also those in this group have the highest divorce rate and tend to use other illicit drugs.
If you or someone you know is developing a tolerance to alcohol, has withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, and has consistent cravings to drink, there’s a good chance that an addiction is developing. However, whether you’re addicted to alcohol or drinking on a regular basis, contact a mental health provider for support today.
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