Alcoholism Risk Factors
There is no stereotypical alcoholic. Alcoholics come in all shapes and sized and from every socioeconomic background. Neither money nor fame can protect a person from the disease, as we see all the time in the media. Alcoholics living in homeless shelters or under bridges actually account for a very small percentage of the total. Most alcoholics are employed and have homes and families. Anyone can suffer from alcoholism. However, there are certain people that are at a greater risk than others.
Alcoholism Risk Factors: What is a risk factor?
While there is no one cause for alcoholism, certain psychological, economic, and social aspects that can increase the likelihood that someone will become an alcoholic. These are known as risk factors.
Alcoholism Risk Factors: Who is at risk?
Psychological risk factors for alcoholism include mood disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, as well as personality disorders like antisocial personality disorder. Social risk factors for alcoholism include male gender, being between 18 and 44 years of age, Native-American heritage, unmarried marital status, and lower socioeconomic status. Environmental factors, including a person’s family’s beliefs and attitudes and exposure to a peer group that encourages alcohol use, seem to play a role in initial alcohol use. Studies also suggest that there is a genetic component to alcoholism. People who have immediate family that suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction are more likely to abuse alcohol themselves.
Alcoholism Risk Factors: What are the lifestyle alcoholism risk factors?
Some of the alcoholism risk factors have nothing to do with your gender, race, mental status, marital status, or socioeconomic status. Some of them simply have to do with how you drink and how drinking affects you. Those who abstain from alcohol aren’t at risk for becoming alcoholics, so any alcohol consumption increases your risk of alcoholism. However, people who drink moderately are at much lower risk than people who drink heavily. Another one of the lifestyle alcoholism risk factors has to do with the age you are at when you start drinking. People who start drinking earlier in life have a greater chance of becoming an alcoholic. Likewise, the longer you drink, the greater chance that you will become alcoholic.
Alcoholism Risk Factors: What are the personality alcoholism risk factors?
For some time, we’ve known that people who suffer from certain mental illnesses are at a greater risk for developing alcoholism. In recent years, however, it has been shown that certain personality types are at greater risk as well. These traits are now considered personality alcoholism risk factors. These personality alcoholism risk factors include:
- Having a low tolerance for frustration
- Having aggressive tendencies or difficulty with impulse control
- Needing an inordinate amount of praise
- Feeling unsure or not worthy
- Demanding perfection
Alcoholism Risk Factors: What if you have no alcoholism risk factors?
It is important to note that even if you don’t have any of these alcoholism risk factors, you can still develop alcoholism. Alcoholism risk factors do not cause alcoholism, and lack of alcoholism risk factors does not prevent it.