There are many risk factors, which could trigger alcoholism. If these risk factors are timely detected and precautions are taken, it is possible to prevent onset of alcoholism. Some of the risk factors for alcoholism are as follows-
Steady Drinking for Long Periods-
If a drinker is in habit of regular drinking for a long time, risk of alcohol dependence increases. As alcohol dependence increases, risk of developing alcoholism also increases.
Starting drinking at early age is also factor, which could trigger alcoholism later. Most of the drinkers who start drinking in adolescence are likely to get addicted to it with time and fall in the trap of alcoholism. If a drinker develops alcoholism in older age, he could suffer more physical damage as his organs have become already weak with age and regular drinking will worsen the condition.
- Men are more likely to develop alcoholism or addiction to alcohol compared to women. But women can more easily develop medical complications related to alcoholism or drinking. It has been seen that number of women alcoholic is increasing rapidly in recent times. Women are at higher risk of developing alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis if they are addicted to alcohol.
People who have a family history of alcoholism are more likely to fall prey to this addiction. Especially if a parent or sibling is alcoholic, chances of developing addiction to it are greater.
Another risk factor for developing alcoholism is peer pressure. People who have alcoholic friends are more likely to adopt this habit. If a person roams in company of drinkers, there are chances that he may give in to peer pressure and start drinking, which may lead to addiction.
Social and cultural factors-
Having a social circle with alcoholics or heavy drinkers can tend a person to start with drink to give them company. These social drinking episodes could increase with alcoholic circle and lead to alcoholism.
History of Abuse
- People who have suffered abuse in their childhood or have a history of abuse are more likely to get addicted to alcohol. It has been seen that people who have suffered physical or sexual abuse or both are more likely to give in to alcoholism. They also badly react to treatment and have difficulty in quitting the habit.
- Some population groups, however, such as Native Americans, show a high incidence of alcoholism while others, such as Jewish and Asian Americans, show a lower incidence of alcoholism. Though causes are not known yet, the statistics favour the fact. It is assumed that people in these population groups may have a genetic susceptibility or invulnerability to alcoholism. There may be difference in there metabolic reaction to alcohol compared to others.
Depression and other mental health problems-
People suffering from depression or other mental disorder are also at high risk of developing addiction problems including alcoholism. Severe depression could lead people to many addictions such as alcoholism, smoking, and other forms of addiction. People suffering from some anxiety disorders, such as panic disorders and social phobia, are also at higher risk of developing alcohol and substance abuse. Social phobia is a strong fear of being criticized or humiliated in public. Thus people suffering from it like isolation and this could cause anxiety and panic. To get relieved they can easily resort to any addictive substance including alcohol. Behavioural disorders such as impulsiveness, excitement and novelty-seeking behaviour are also responsible for triggering addiction to alcohol.
People suffering from other addictions are more prone to develop alcoholic addiction as they always need some addictive substance to escape from their problems and relax.