16141310_sMost people who end up dependent upon alcohol don’t do so intentionally, and it’s often a culmination of many factors both innate and environmental that lead to abuse. However, there are several risk factors that may make a person more prone to problematic drinking. While some people can drink responsibly their entire lives, for others, it’s not so easy.

An article found online at WebMD outlines a few of the elements that make a person more susceptible to alcohol misuse. Certainly not everyone who exhibits a risk factor for alcoholism is considered an alcoholic. But the following serves as a guide to help spot variables that could increase a person’s risk.

Family history of alcoholism
Research has shown there is a genetic link associated with alcohol dependence. This means that those who have family members living with alcoholism could themselves be more prone to misuse.

Early onset of alcohol use
Data indicates that the risk for adult alcohol abuse is impacted by the age at which a person starts drinking. Meaning, the younger a person is when he or she consumes alcohol, the higher the risk of problems down the road.

Gender
Males in particular are more apt to have issues with alcohol than women. In fact, they are at three times the risk for alcohol dependency as their female counterparts.

Alcohol-Friendly Surroundings
People living in places renowned for heavy drinking or locations where alcohol is easily accessible are more apt to drink themselves.

Feeling Unfulfilled
Alcohol can sometimes be used as a coping mechanism to navigate difficult life circumstances such as the end of a relationship or loss of a job, which may lead to a cycle of abuse.

Issues of Mental Health
Mental illness including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and PTSD all elevate the risk of alcohol dependence.

Alcoholism is a family disease that likely impacts the affected person as well as his or her family and friends. Loved ones serve an important role in helping dependent individuals seek treatment and remain sober. For assistance with addiction or to learn more about alcoholism, contact the Family Guidance Center.