There are different types of drinkers.
Many fall into one of three categories. Light or moderate drinkers typically only consume alcohol if they are at social gatherings, but they can take it or leave it. Heavy drinkers tend to binge drink, but they are able to realize when they’ve gone too far and stop themselves. People who are addicted to alcohol cannot stop regardless of the negative consequences. How does it get to this point? And just how easy is it to get addicted to alcohol?
According to the NIH, early onset of drinking increases the chance of developing an addiction: “A recent national survey found that among people ages 26 and older, those who began drinking before age 15 were more than 5 times as likely to report having AUD in the past year as those who waited until age 21 or later to begin drinking.”
Why do people start drinking? Many people simply like the way it makes them feel.
Advertisements for alcohol depict drinking as sexy and sophisticated. Peer pressure and the desire to relax in a social situation are also strong motivators for drinking.
Alcohol use can turn to addiction when the person uses it more and more frequently and in higher amounts, perhaps to self-medicate an underlying mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression. The person first develops tolerance, meaning that they require more alcohol to feel the same effects. Then, dependence sets in when the brain begins to think it needs the substance in order to feel normal. At this point, attempting to stop drinking will bring on withdrawal symptoms. Soon, addiction will develop if the alcohol use continues. The brain of someone addicted to alcohol is different than that of a normal drinker. Alcoholics are unable to control their drinking, and even though they no longer enjoy it, they cannot stop using without dealing with intense physical and mental withdrawal symptoms.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with alcohol addiction, we are here to help. Contact us anytime at (877) 977-3268.