Causes of Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol Dependency – What is it?

Alcohol abuse is the recurring overuse of alcohol. Despite negative consequences, a pattern of non-stop or binge drinking can result in harm to an individual’s physical health, relationships and ability to work.

Alcohol addiction or dependency is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental and social factors including:

  • Stressful environments – some people drink heavily to cope with stressful jobs or troubled relationships.
  • Drinking from an early age – people who start drinking when they are young can be more likely to have a problem in later life, partly because they have built up higher tolerance levels to alcohol.
  • Mental health problems – those suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions sometimes turn to alcohol as a way of coping and become addicted as a result.
  • Family history – those with a parent or relative who is an alcoholic are more likely to abuse alcohol themselves.

Getting Help for Yourself or Loved One

Dealing with any addiction begins with admitting that you have a problem. Only when you admit this both to yourself and to others can treatment have any chance of success.

If you drink more than you should, but don’t consider yourself an alcoholic — there are steps you can take to try and moderate your alcohol use including:

  • Try not to drink when you are feeling anxious or depressed
  • Don’t keep alcohol in the house
  • Spend time with friends and family who do not drink
  • Avoid situations where you know excessive drinking will be involved
  • Don’t drink alone
  • Limit drinking to meal times
  • Opt for low or no-alcohol beverages
  • Place limits on yourself (e.g. one drink an hour)
  • Ask for the support of your friends and family
  • Take up exercise or meditation to relieve stress, rather than drinking
  • Set personal goals for cutting back
  • Forgive yourself if you fail and try again.

But if none of this helps and you realise you have a serious alcohol problem, you will need to undergo a course of treatment and rehabilitation to rid yourself of your addiction.

Treatment for alcohol addiction often involves a combination of several different therapies including talk therapy (with a counsellor or psychologist), group therapy and drug therapy (to assist with withdrawals).