At this time of year, parties are plentiful and alcoholic beverages are flowing. However, with plenty of alcohol come the dreaded hangover and the question of ‘why did I drink’? We often ask ourselves this the morning after the night before, when we are struggling to function and are trying to cope with a banging head and nauseous stomach.

However, fasts forward even a day or two and we are ready to get back out there and hit the bottle hard again. So why do we do this to ourselves? What makes us enjoy a drink that causes us to become clumsy, disorientated and, in some cases, ill?

Why Humans Drink Alcohol

Most animals do not enjoy alcohol and the effects it causes. Nor do they have the ability to metabolise it effectively. So why do we, as humans, keep going back for more? Unlike other animals, humans have an enzyme that is particularly effective at breaking down the alcohol in our favourite tipples. This makes us capable of consuming large amounts of alcohol; for some people though, the amount can be much larger than for others.

Causes of Alcoholism

So now we know why we tolerate alcohol, what makes some of us want it more than others? The reasons a person drinks more than the recommended daily amount varies from individual to individual. However, when a person drinks so much alcohol that they then become reliant upon it, they are said to have an addiction due to alcohol abuse.

No one knows the cause of alcohol addiction but recent studies have found a genetic link between alcoholic parents and their alcoholic children. Alcoholism is something that generally develops over time. It is unlike other addictions to substances such as heroin or cocaine, or even gambling addiction, in which the addiction can occur very quickly.

Who is at Risk of Developing Alcoholism?

  • As previously mentioned, people with alcoholic parents may be more inclined to develop a dependency
  • men who drink more than fifteen drinks per week
  • women who drink more than twelve drinks per week
  • binge drinkers – those drinking more than five drinks in one session
  • those suffering from depression, stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem.

What to Do If You Suspect a Loved One of Being an Alcoholic?

If a loved one appears to have a problem with alcohol, it may be the case that outside intervention is required. However, many people suffering with an alcohol problem will not readily admit to it and may not appreciate any external interference.

If this person is drinking regularly and you have noticed that he or she is neglecting other areas of his or her life, then alcohol dependency could indeed be an issue. Alcoholics often drink alone as they will be drinking more often than others. They may begin to drink more and more with every drinking session, as they become more tolerant to the effects of the alcohol.

Alcohol abuse becomes a major problem when the individual starts to neglect things such as family obligations or personal hygiene. This may be the time when outside intervention is necessary, regardless of whether or not the individual has admitted to the problem.

At Addiction Helpline, we can provide help to families of alcoholics by offering support and advice on how to deal with a loved one who is unwilling to admit they have a problem. Call us today if you suspect a loved one is abusing alcohol.

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