It's ALL in the Genes: How people & environment influence alcohol abuse.

It's ALL in the Genes:

How people & environment influence alcohol abuse.

 

No one actively decides to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. I most certainly didn’t think that;

 “ You know what? Wouldn’t it be great if I needed a drink as soon a I woke up just to function normally and not shake”. 

 

There are situations that an individual may face throughout their life that have a massive impact on whether they choose to drink. A person’s family life, education, friends, family, and work can all have an influence on their drinking habits. 

 

For years, scientists have been trying to find and isolate the “alcoholic gene” that makes someone more susceptible to become dependent on alcohol. However, it is thought that genes only influence about half of someone’s likelihood to abuse alcohol. The other half comes from the environment they individual live in.

 

Below are some of the social factors that can have an influence on a persons relationship with alcohol: 

Family and home life

Home life can play a big role in whether or not someone will struggle with alcohol abuse.

Without intending to, parents and older siblings who drink can set the norms for the drinking habits of children. When children are exposed to alcohol early in life they are also more likely to struggle with it later down the line. 

According to The National Council for Alcohol & Drug dependence highlight that; 

“those who start drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop dependence later in life than those who begin drinking at 21.”

 

By warning children about the dangers of drinking early parents can decrease a child’s risk of addiction.

 

School and Friends

School cultures, being bullied, friendship groups can all influence whether or not people begin using drugs or alcohol, and how they use it. Students with poor social or coping skills may be more at risk for drinking as a way to deal with stress or to fit in.

 

Trauma

Traumatic life events or adverse childhood experiences should never be underestimated for victims of any age. 

Adolescents receiving treatment for alcohol abuse report higher rates of physical and sexual abuse than others, according to NIAAA. And in most of the reported cases, the negative relationship with alcohol developed after the abuse.

 

Work and income

When you’re not making enough to make ends meet, things can feel hopeless. You might start to look for relief with alcohol.

Alternatively, many people drink to unwind after a stressful day at work. There is a direct link between work-related stress and an increase in alcohol abuse.

 

Mental health

Mental ill health is not an obvious social factor, however this can heavily influence how an individual interacts with the people around them, and how well they can manage in their environment.

When substance abuse disorder occurs in addition to a mental health disorder, it’s referred to as “dual diagnosis”.

 

How can alcohol abuse be prevented?

Alcohol dependence takes on a life of its own. As it develops, it impairs the individual’s ability to make sound decisions and exert self-control.

 

Be aware of it.

Understand it.

Don’t be afraid to address it. 

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