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How Do People Become Addicted to Alcohol?

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Drinking is something that a number of people enjoy, though using the substance to cope or avoid bad feelings can be a sign of addiction. Because alcoholism can sneak up on its victim, it is important to be aware of signs leading to the addiction before it's too late.

Genetics

Genes are an important factor in triggering alcohol addiction. According to researchers, children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become alcoholics.

It is uncertain what gene specifically initiates alcoholism.

Chemical Factors

Alcohols has an influence on chemicals in the brain, namely dopamine in the brain's reward center. When dopamine is released into the brain as a result of alcohol, the body eventually craves alcohol in order to receive those pleasurable feelings. The body also craves alcohol to avoid negative feelings.

People who suffer from anxiety, stress, low self esteem or depression are at higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol because it allows them to avoid those negative feelings.

Social Influence

Peer pressure, advertising and environment can all play an important role in alcohol addiction. Youth often drink among friends who encourage it. In advertisements, beer and liquor are exhibited as glamorous or exciting.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

A person might be addicted to alcohol if he or she drinks to forget problems or feels unhappy or irritable when not drinking. Other signs of alcohol addiction include loss of appetite, lying about drinking habits, drinking alone and losing memories.

The first step to overcoming alcohol addiction is recognizing these signs.

Tolerance and Withdrawal

If a person needs to consume increasingly more alcohol to feel buzzed or relaxed, they have built tolerance to the substance. Over time, this can lead to alcoholism.

Once tolerance is built, withdrawal can ensue. If alcohol is consumed in mass, withdrawal symptoms can include shakiness, sweating, nausea, insomnia and fatigue.

Source: Help Guide