Causes of alcoholism
Alcoholism is a chronic or periodic consumption of alcohol characterized by impaired control over drinking, intoxication episodes, and preoccupation with alcohol.
Numerous factors may contribute to alcohol addiction. They include biological, psychological and social factors.
Genetic predisposition and vulnerability: DNA determines the person’s features and the predisposition to addictions.Lots of DNA sites may be involved in alcoholism. For the people from the East Asia is common a genetic abnormality in ALDH2 – aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 gene in which the production of the enzyme needed to metabolize alcohol is impaired. The flushing, nausea, and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) occur when they start drinking. A gene called Nf1 (neurofibromatosis type 1) was found to affect the production of GABA signaling pathway. A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) revealed that genetic factors account for 40-60 percent of the cases of alcohol addiction. The DRD2 – dopamine D2 receptor gene was also reported to be associated with alcoholism
Comorbid psychiatric disorder or personality disorder, comorbid medical disorder: Comorbidity is a condition when two or more diseases develop simultaneously, one or more diseases are additional. Many diseases are inherited or genetic and the same impaired genes may contribute to the tendency to become addicted or distorted alcohol metabolism. On the other hand, psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders or schizophrenia are likely to cause severe drinking due to the desire to feel better and experience some discrete emotions.
Reinforcing effects of the drugs: In this case a person is trying to reach the desirable effect on the means of alcohol without using the drugs.
Withdrawal effects and craving: After the cessation of alcohol consumption an addicted person experiences withdrawal symptoms (fast heart rate, increased blood pressure, hyperthermia, headache, tremor, nausea, vomiting, increased sweating, insomnia and anxiety or nervousness, cramps and seizures) that can be eliminated by the further consumption of alcohol
Biochemical factors (monoaminoxidase low activity): Biochemical disturbances influence on the alcohol metabolism and therefore the effects it has on the body. Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) genes on the long arm of chromosome 4 may also be involved.
Curiosity, need for novelty seeking – Especially seen in youth, the desire to experience something new draws them into chronic alcohol consumption (in companies) that later becomes abusive.
General rebelliousness and social non-conformity: A confrontation and conflicts with the society make alcohol consumption a kind of protest against the social rules.
History of alcoholism in the family: A history of alcohol abuse in the family puts a person at risk of developing the addiction. A person since childhood sees the wrong example of his/her parent and develops a behavioral pattern that involves alcohol abuse.
Teenage problems and concerns regarding personal autonomy: A child/teenager tries to reach the personal freedom through alcohol consumption. This way he/she hopes to feel himself/herself more adult by “behaving as an adult”.
Early initiation of alcohol and tobacco: The earlier a person starts to consume alcohol or any other psychoactive substance the more severe is the addiction.
Poor impulse control: A person tends to lose control easily.
Sensation-seeking and relief from fatigue or boredom: A person is trying to experience something new and entertain his/herself.
Low self-esteem: By consuming alcohol a person is trying to reach self-affirmation.
Poor stress management skills and psychological distress: Alcohol helps a person to feel better and get through the stressful situations.
Childhood trauma or loss: A stressful situation experienced in childhood is affecting the whole person’s life. He/she tries to substitute the painful experience by consuming alcohol.
Escape from reality: The wish to escape the real-world experience and avoid decision-making with the help of alcohol.
Lack of interest in conventional goals: A person seems to have no interest in real life.
Peer pressure (often more important than the parental factor): The yearlings may be very persistent and abusive. If a teenager is trying to refuse to drink alcohol he/she may be bullied.
Role model: Imitating the pattern of a relative or any close person may lead to alcohol dependency.
Unemployment: A person feels isolated and unable to take control of his/her own life and feels depressed. Alcohol consumption seems to lessen these feelings
Permissive alcohol legislation such s lower age of legal drinking, greater availability of alcohol and socioeconomic deprivation.