Sociology

How people become alcoholics



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Alcohol is a major problem in today's society. Many people can drink it occasionally without any harm, but there are others who abuse alcohol on a regular basis and, as a result, are harming their health and potentially that of those around them. There are a number of factors that influence people to drink alcohol, and anyone concerned about their alcohol intake, or that of someone around them, should know what signs to look out for. 

Availability

Unlike many drugs on the market, alcohol is readily available and legal. It is quite acceptable to walk into a shop and buy several bottles of alcohol in one go. Once it is there, some people find it hard not to drink it. Then, if it runs out, another trip to the shop is made. Although alcohol isn't cheap, many people have enough disposable income to buy as much as they want. 

Peer pressure

Many people start drinking because of peer pressure when young. Drinking is seen as 'cool' and anyone who turns it down is seen as a party pooper. As people grow up, they will hopefully realize that peer pressure isn't a good reason to drink - but it may be too late by then, because they have developed a taste for it. 

Escapism

A glass or two of alcohol can make the world seem like a better place. A bottle or two can block out everything and that is exactly what some people want - to forget about life for a few hours. Many alcoholics are also depressed, although how much of that is because of the effects of alcohol is hard to judge, and really just want some release for a while. 

Lack of inhibitions

Some people, especially those who are shy, struggle in social situations without the aid of alcohol. After a glass or two, they are able to relax and socialize in a way that they otherwise wouldn't be able. Unfortunately, over time, many of these people develop a need for more and more alcohol to get the same relaxed feeling, and before they know it, they are addicted. 

Addiction

Many people who drink heavily claim that they are not addicted to alcohol, that they could give up any time they wanted. Yet, they often don't try, because deep down they know they are addicted. If they do try, withdrawal symptoms, such as the shakes, nausea and anxiety, soon send them back to the bottle. Giving up can take months or even years, and a lot of outside help. 

Friends and family

Those whose friends and family drink on a regular basis may end up drinking more often than they would otherwise do. This may not be because of peer pressure exactly, but simply because it has become part of their lives because it is part of those around them. Anyone wanting to give up alcohol may need to persuade their loved ones to give up too. 

These are some of the most common factors that influence people to drink alcohol. It should always be remembered that alcohol is a short-term solution, at best. 

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