Alcoholism is a serious disease that effects millions of people. Alcoholism, like all forms of addiction, is a complicated disease, and each person who suffers from this illness requires slightly different treatment. When a person is addicted to alcohol, their entire lives suffer as result. Despite being around for a very long time, alcoholism is a disease that many people still do not fully understand.
Many people may have an idea of what a typical alcoholic looks like or the behaviors of an alcoholic. These misconceptions may lead some people to believe that only certain types of people can suffer from alcoholism or that alcoholism is somehow a choice or a lack of self control or good decision making. These misconceptions may help perpetuate dangerous stereotypes about alcoholism or make it less likely that a person who needs help gets the support they deserve. The reality is that anyone may suffer from alcoholism. It is a disease that does not discriminate.
Successful Individuals and Alcoholism
One common misconception is that if a person is successful or very good at their job or career, they will not or cannot be an alcoholic. This incorrect assumption may have its roots in a number of places, including the fact that many people wrongly believe that alcoholism represents a lapse in judgement or moral strength. In fact, not only are many successful people alcoholics, some studies suggest that individuals who exhibit a tendency toward extreme career success may be even more likely to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs than other individuals.
This may be because many of the personality traits associated with a person who is very driven or successful professionally may also make a person much more prone to addiction. Dedication, having a compulsive or obsessive personality, and being a risk taker, are all personality types that make a person more prone to both career success and alcoholism.
The Many Causes of Addiction
There are many reasons a person may suffer from addiction, and no two addicts are the same. Most addicts have a genetic predisposition for addiction meaning that their brains are wired in a way that makes it far more likely for them to struggle with addiction. Even these neurological tendencies can struggle quite a bit from addict to addict. Some individuals may have more compulsive personalities, while others have reward centers that simply feel pleasure at a lower rate and thus require increasingly high amounts of a stimulus to achieve the desired effects.
Environmental factors may also play a huge role in determining whether an individual will suffer from addiction. People with a background of verbal or physical abuse, for example, may be at a much higher risk for adulthood. Because there are so many different factors that can contribute to alcoholism, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint one specific type of person who may be a typical alcoholic.
Alcoholism May Begin at Any Age
A person may begin to suffer from alcoholism at a wide variety of ages. No one is too young or too old to begin suffering from alcoholism. Even if a person has, for many years, been able to drink in moderation, it is possible for them to become addicted to alcohol. Life incidents such as trauma or extreme stress may make a person more prone to addiction.
A young person can also become quickly addicted to alcohol and is by no means immune from the disease. Just because a young person is surrounded by others who drink to excess or who consider binge drinking normal does not mean they themselves do not have a problem. Alcoholism does not discriminate and the less stigma around alcoholism, the more those suffering can get help.