Addiction is an illness that occurs gradually over time. For example, the person who likes to have a drink with friends at the weekend or a glass of wine with dinner does not set out to develop an addiction. So how do you go from social drinking to a full-blown addiction that takes over your life and leaves you helpless when it comes to intense cravings?
How Did You Develop an Addiction?
You may often think back and wonder when your drinking became a problem. You may be aware that you are drinking more than ever now or that you are drinking almost every day, whereas you once had the odd drink at the weekend. When exactly did you find that you needed more alcohol to experience the same effects as before?
You may also be wondering why you have become an alcoholic when other people have not. Although there was a time when alcohol did not rule your life, you may have a genetic tendency that caused you to develop this illness.
Studies have shown that some individuals are at greater risk of developing addiction than others are. Below are a few of the risk factors for addiction:
- Family Genetics Some people inherit genes from their parents that can make them more susceptible to developing alcoholism. It is usually a combination of genes that will increase the risk but, in most cases, having these genes does not automatically guarantee that a person will become an alcoholic. However, if you have an alcoholic parent, your chances of becoming an alcoholic yourself will be much higher than someone who does not.
- Environment While people from all backgrounds can be affected by alcoholism, those who have grown up with an early exposure to alcohol whether this is from within the family, through friends or in the area where they live are more likely to be affected by alcoholism.
- Age Studies show that the earlier a person drinks, the more likely he or she is to develop alcohol problems later in life. Many alcoholics started drinking before the age of eighteen.
- Traumatic Experiences Those affected by trauma are more likely to drink alcohol to numb the pain; as they continue to do so, they are at a greater risk of becoming addicted. A traumatic experience could include being bullied, being abused, witnessing combat, losing a loved one, or being involved in a serious accident.
When Social Drinking Becomes a Problem
For a while, you may have been able to handle drinking in moderation. Nevertheless, as you began to drink more often your body built up a tolerance to alcohol and, pretty soon, you started drinking more and more in order to achieve the same effects.
Scientists have discovered that repeated use of alcohol can change the way that the brain functions. As you continue to abuse alcohol, your brain begins to adapt, and the result will be that you can no longer make good decisions.
You may be of the opinion that you are weak or lack willpower, but this is not the case. Those with addiction have no control over their actions. No matter what an angry relative may tell you, you have an illness, and it has nothing to do with a moral failing on your behalf. Addiction is a chronic illness and it is extremely difficult to quit without help.
Help is Available
The good news is that help is available for addiction. Rehab Helper is a free service helping those with addictions to access treatments they need to overcome their illnesses. If you are worried about yourself or a friend, contact us today for information on how we can help.