Social and Environmental Factors That Influence Alcohol Abuse

Much like genetics, personality factors are incredibly complex and interact with each other. The expectations an individual has about drinking also play a big role. Individuals who have positive expectations about alcohol’s impacts are more likely to develop alcoholism than individuals who have negative expectations about alcohol’s effects. However, not all studies support gender differences in age of onset of regular alcohol use, and some suggest that age of initial use may be increasingly similar for both genders, at least for those who ultimately seek treatment. They did, however, find that women progressed from regular use to treatment more quickly than men .

factors that influence alcohol use

However, they may not reflect the typical serving sizes people may encounter in daily life. If an individual lived in a neighborhood that frowns on binge drinking, that individual was less likely to drink, even if he or she believed it acceptable to do so. This was particularly true for women, suggesting gender norms around alcohol use may be a factor.

When Does Drinking Become Problematic?

People who grow up in a family where heavy drinking is practiced, or even encouraged, are more likely to develop alcoholism. In these families, heavy drinking is normalized and glamorized; it becomes socially acceptable, expected, and potentially desirable. The sheer number of factors that can influence the development of an alcohol addiction make it virtually impossible to accurately predict whether any individual will develop alcoholism. While it is an individual’s personal choice whether or not to begin drinking, a great deal of research suggests that the development of alcoholism once drinking commences is largely out of that individual’s control. It is also true that no single factor, nor group of factors, will determine whether or not someone becomes an alcoholic. Individual factors include age, gender, family circumstances and socio-economic status.

Thus, the female brain may be differentially sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol (Hommer et al. 2001; Hommer 2003). Esophageal cancer, particularly esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. In addition, people who inherit a deficiency in an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol have been found to have substantially increased risks of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma if they consume alcohol.

  • Grenard, J.L.; Dent, C.W.; and Stacy, A.W. Exposure to alcohol advertisements and teenage alcohol-related problems.
  • While it is an individual’s personal choice whether or not to begin drinking, a great deal of research suggests that the development of alcoholism once drinking commences is largely out of that individual’s control.
  • Alcohol can also damage bone marrow, which makes blood cells.
  • Excessive alcohol use can make it harder for your body to resist disease, increasing your risk of various illnesses, especially pneumonia.
  • Approximately 40 percent of the variance for alcoholism onset in men and 60 percent of this variance in women can be attributed to genes (Kendler et al. 1992).

Alcohol use and misuse account for 3.3 million deaths every year, or 6 percent of all deaths worldwide. The harmful effects of alcohol misuse are far reaching and range from individual health risks, morbidity, and mortality to consequences for family, friends, and the larger society. This article reviews a few of the cultural and social influences on alcohol use and places individual alcohol use within the contexts and environments where people live and interact. It includes a discussion of macrolevel factors, such as advertising and marketing, immigration and discrimination factors, and how neighborhoods, families, and peers influence alcohol use. Specifically, the article describes how social and cultural contexts influence alcohol use/misuse and then explores future directions for alcohol research.

Cultural Norms

These data suggest that the rate of progression of problematic drinking and subsequent risk for alcohol-related consequences may be different for men and women. Historically, men have reported an earlier age of onset of alcohol use initiation than women (Chou and Dawson 1994; Gomberg 1993). Traumatic experiences can contribute significantly to the development of alcohol use disorders. One study found that post-traumatic stress disorder was linked to an earlier onset of drinking, increased alcohol consumption and experiencing alcoholic blackouts. People may turn to alcohol to attempt to cope with lingering symptoms of trauma.

This is because the gene can boost feelings of pleasure and happiness when consuming alcohol. Moreover, it can simultaneously reduce the impact of vomiting or nausea. Still, more research is needed to confirm these theories but it’s clear that genes do play a role in alcohol abuse disorder cases. According eco sober house review to research conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, genetic factors account for roughly half of alcoholism cases. While there has been a debate about this evidence for decades, scientists and mental health professionals are starting to agree that alcoholism is hereditary.

Cultures where drinking is considered shameful may cause alcoholics to hide their condition and avoid treatment due to the stigma of being labeled an alcoholic. A variety of factors which affect the levels and patterns of alcohol consumption and the magnitude of alcohol-related problems in populations have been identified at individual and societal levels. In this type, positive reinforcements are used to increase the frequency of specific behaviors in specific situations, and negative reinforcement or punishments are used to decrease or eliminate behaviors. People believed that the utilization of alcohol can alleviate stress, which may maintain an individual’s utilization and motivate them to drink. A reasonable clarification is that push alleviation from liquor or other medication utilization is impacted by desires that help will happen .

Ceballos and colleagues reported similar prevalence data . Research with adolescents suggests that alcohol, drug (i.e., marijuana), and smoking behaviors frequently develop around the same time (Faeh et al. 2006). The co-occurrence of alcohol and other drug use disorders is well recognized. Data analyzed from the National Comorbidity Survey revealed that 29.5 percent of men and 34.7 percent of women who met criteria for alcohol dependence also were drug dependent (Kessler et al. 1997). Importantly, AUDs were found to precede drug problems in 25.6 percent of men and 20.0 percent of women (Kessler et al. 1997).

This is because ailments like depression and anxiety can be temporarily relieved by alcohol, which causes drinking to become a habit. Unfortunately, this type of self-medicating is dangerous and leads to alcoholism. These factors can occur when someone is young or older, so it’s something to continually monitor. Some examples of social factors in younger people include bullying, peer eco sober house pressure, gang activity, excessive popularity, and negative family life. For example, some of the common reasons stem from stress, work, anxiety, mental health disorders, and even something as simple as drinking frequently. If you’re unsure if you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, or if you’re interested in preventing the issue from happening, you’re in the right place.

These are efforts to empower parents to set and enforce clear rules against drinking, as well as improve communication between children and parents about alcohol. This approach seeks to change the way youth think about alcohol so they are better able to resist pressures to drink. Alcohol is a significant factor in the deaths of people younger than age 21 in the United States each year. This includes deaths from motor vehicle crashes, homicides, alcohol overdoses, falls, burns, drowning, and suicides. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men.

Reducing the burden from harmful use of alcohol

Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large. Screening youth for alcohol use and AUD is very important and may prevent problems down the road. Screening by a primary care provider or other health practitioner (e.g., pediatrician) provides an opportunity to identify problems early and address them before they escalate. It also allows adolescents to ask questions of a knowledgeable adult. NIAAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that all youth be regularly screened for alcohol use.

factors that influence alcohol use

Relationships between local enforcement, alcohol availability, drinking norms, and adolescent alcohol use in 50 California cities. Ethnicity specific norms and alcohol consumption among Hispanic/Latino/a and Caucasian students. Longitudinal family effects on substance use among an at-risk adolescent sample.

Personal Choice Factors

These may include inappropriate behavior, unstable moods, poor judgment, slurred speech, problems with attention or memory, and poor coordination. You can also have periods called “blackouts,” where you don’t remember events. Very high blood alcohol levels can lead to coma, permanent brain damage or even death. Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol or continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems. This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. Alcohol use disorder includes a level of drinking that’s sometimes called alcoholism.

What Are The Factors That Affect Someone’s Risk of Alcohol Use And Addiction?

A person’s home life plays a huge role in whether or not they’ll struggle with alcoholism. There are situations that an individual may encounter throughout their life that can significantly impact whether or not they drink and to what extent. Medically Reviewed By Jenni Jacobsen, LSWA licensed behavioral health or medical professional on The Recovery Village Editorial Team has analyzed and confirmed every statistic, study and medical claim on this page. While triggers make it hard to recover from addiction, it doesn’t mean they have to ruin your chances every single time. If you want to self-test for alcoholism we recommend using the AUDIT addiction test. The test was developed by the World Health Organization in the early 1980s and consists of 10 questions.