You may know someone who has a severe drinking problem and may wonder how someone can drink excessively on a regular basis. Many celebrities have admitted openly that they have undergone treatment for alcoholism. You may wonder how someone who is rich, successful and popular can suddenly engage in self-destructive behavior and keep drinking, even after arrests and the destruction of relationships.
Drinking is socially acceptable, and many people enjoy a night out at a bar, but they may feel perplexed at the notion of one of their peers continuing their drinking past the point of danger.
Nature Versus Nurture
There is one point of view that emphasizes the role genetics plays in alcoholism. It can explain why some people can go out for a few drinks and refrain from drinking other days of the week and why other people can’t seem to stop, even after they have been fired from their jobs or their marriages have failed as the result of alcohol abuse.
Some people may have a predisposition to alcoholism, particularly as the result of family history and genetics. People whose family members are alcoholics should be cautious about their own alcohol use and look for signs that alcohol use is escalating. For those who need help, alcohol treatment centers can provide a safe place, medical treatment, and counseling.
What Triggers Alcohol Abuse?
Even though genetics may play a significant role in determining whether or not someone who uses alcohol will develop symptoms of full-blown alcoholism, there is still a choice involved in drinking unwisely, at least before the cycle of alcohol abuse has begun.
One of these triggers can be stress. One may hear someone say occasionally, “I need a drink.” This is often not to be taken literally, because if one actually needs a drink to deal with stress, that may be a sign of alcohol dependency. The availability of alcohol and the social acceptance of the tendency to have a drink after a hard day can trigger someone who has the potential for alcoholism.
Stress is often associated with trouble at work or a difficulty paying bills. The truth is that all kinds of stress can lead to a desire for an easy escape. Alcohol and drugs provide some people with the illusion that they can escape from their problems, but their problems are usually waiting for them when the effect of the drugs or alcohol wear off.
A person may realize that abusing alcohol is unwise, but they may feel locked in a cycle because of psychological and physical dependency.
Breaking the Cycle of Dependency
Once someone has developed a psychological and physical dependency on alcohol, it can be difficult to stop drinking on their own. Psychological dependency is characterized by a feeling that one cannot get through the day without a drink.
Physical dependency can be dangerous and in some cases, fatal, if withdrawal is done too quickly. Suddenly stopping drinking can cause delirium tremens, which may lead to temporary psychosis and cardiovascular problems. That is why it is important for people to seek professional treatment to break the cycle of dependency and get a new lease on life.