Alcoholism is an incredibly common addiction, with more than three million cases in the United States every year. Sometimes, it is difficult to self-diagnose, since drinking is such a common social activity in our society. However, some signs make it clear when alcohol use crosses over into dangerous territory. Those include being unable to stop drinking, even when it leads to financial or health difficulties, drinking early in the day, and feeling guilty about drinking.
There are different subtypes of alcoholics:
- Young adult alcoholics include those who do not also have a mental illness or a family history of alcoholism.
- The young antisocial subtype also includes young adults, but those in this subtype also have a family history of alcoholism and mental illnesses.
- The functional subtype includes middle-aged people with jobs and families. They have a family history of alcoholism, and about 25 percent of them also have depression.
- The chronic severe subtype includes middle-aged adults who are also addicted to other substances, suffer from mental illness, and have a family history of alcoholism.
Causes of Alcoholism
Alcoholism can begin in a number of ways. Sometimes, it begins with peer pressure. As a young person is encouraged to drink by those around them, they lose the ability to control their drinking themselves.
In other cases, mental illness can lead to overuse of alcohol, especially if the person uses it to self-medicate. There also may be a genetic cause for alcoholism – there are genes that reduce the impact of hangovers and boost the impact of alcohol, which might prime people to overdrink. Finally, kids who grow up around adults with bad drinking habits may copy those same behaviors as they grow up.
Help Is Often Needed
It is almost impossible for an alcoholic to stop drinking without assistance. Many times, an intervention is necessary, followed by entry into an addiction treatment, or rehab, program. When someone takes the time to step out of his or her daily life and focus on getting sober, they can overcome his or her need for alcohol and find healthier coping mechanisms.
We understand how difficult it is to get sober and offer the support that an addict needs to stop drinking.