An article in The Times this week suggests the roots of alcoholism might be traced back to the womb. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that addiction has a genetic component, but it is now also being suggested that the behaviour of mothers while carrying their babies may also play a huge part. If this article is correct, it really could be that alcoholism begins in the womb.
Pregnant Women and Alcoholism
The study discussed in The Times article looked at the effect of diet on pregnant mice. It was found that the diet of these rodents had a huge impact on their offspring. It is now being suggested that mothers who eat many sugary things or too much fat while they are pregnant are at far more risk of having kids who will later grow up to be alcoholic. There is still not enough evidence to prove conclusively that this link exists, but it is an interesting idea.
The Real Cause of Alcoholism
The relationship between the diet of pregnant women and the likelihood of their offspring developing alcoholism is something that needs to be further researched. It is highly unlikely though that there will ever be one factor that is identified as being the cause of this addiction. This is because alcoholism is such a complex condition that is said to occur due to the interaction of many factors, including:
- genetic inheritance
- the parenting style that people experience growing up
- kids who experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs
- people who try alcohol at a young age are far more likely to become addicted
- if people grow up in a home where alcohol abuse is considered normal behaviour, they will be far more likely to develop this type of problem
- living in a community where there is a great deal of substance abuse can encourage members of this community to engage in the behaviour
- peer pressure to drink alcohol
- some people are believed to have a personality that makes them more prone to developing addiction problems (e.g. impulsiveness, inability to handle stress, and non-conformity)
- some people will develop alcoholism due to loneliness (e.g. there is a rising number of retired men who live alone and begin to drink excessively to help them cope with this)
- a high proportion of alcoholics develop this problem because they are self-medicating a mental health condition – they turn to alcohol initially because it seems to relieve their symptoms
- there are some professions where heavy drinking is the norm.
The Cause of Your Alcoholism
When people become sober, they can become obsessed with finding the cause of their own addiction. The reality is that there might never be a clear answer to this question because it is likely to be due to number of different factors coming together. It is important that people are able to understand the driving force behind this behaviour, but this does not necessarily mean that they will be able to discover the exact reasons.
One of the best ways to dig down to the driving force behind the addiction is to spend time with a therapist. A lot of this work can be done in rehab, meaning that the person will be far less likely to relapse once they go home. The therapist is unlikely to be able to say that the addiction is due to your mother eating too many Mars bars while she was pregnant, but this professional will be able to understand why you have been engaging in this behaviour and how you can escape it.