The pressure and stress of daily life can affect people in different ways and cause them to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms that may eventually cause harm not only to themselves but those around them as well. Alcohol abuse can be among the most common of these negative coping actions, and if you or someone you know is drinking excessively, understanding what can trigger this behavior may help you find more effective treatment options.

1. Grief

Many people cope with the death of a loved one in different ways, from turning inward and shutting down emotionally to turning to friends and family for support. However, some may turn to alcohol for comfort, and if you find yourself drinking more daily to numb your grief, this could morph into abuse and addiction. It can be difficult to recognize when this is happening, so you may want to consult a counselor or therapist who can help you work through the seven stages of grief in a way that is healthy and help you avoid excessive drinking.

2. Career Problems

Work stress or a loss of employment can have a devastating effect on your life and make you feel as if it is spinning out of control. The pressure to perform at stellar levels, produce at a high volume or having difficulties with a supervisor or co-worker may cause you to turn to alcohol for comfort or to help you relax. If you lost your job and cannot find a new one, you might start to abuse alcohol to cope with feelings of worthlessness or to quell financial anxieties.

Unemployment and drinking often go hand in hand, so it can be important to find other coping mechanisms that may only make it more difficult to find work when it does become available. Consider using your time to volunteer, as helping others can boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of purpose. Daily exercise and a healthy diet may also help you maintain a positive lifestyle and avoid alcohol overuse as you look for work.

3. Social Environment

While you may think of peer pressure as something that only affects teenagers and very young adults, it can exist in almost any social situation. This is often especially true with binge drinking, which is seen on college campuses. For example, if your circle of friends spends their weekends bar hopping and you join them because you enjoy the feeling of inclusion it gives you, this may lead to the chronic misuse of alcohol and become a daily ritual instead of a weekend one.

If your social environment is causing you to drink more than you normally would, consider a change and seek out new hobbies and activities that do not include alcohol. You can also use social media to meet new friends in your area and other parts of the country who share your interests.

4. Family History

While there can be some genetic factors for alcohol abuse, family history can have much more of a serious influence. Alcoholism is often cyclic, and if one of your parents or older siblings drank heavily when you were young, you may have an increased risk of abusing beer, wine, or distilled spirits yourself. If you find yourself binge drinking or your alcohol use increases, you may want to seek out a functional alcoholism diagnosis and treatment center to assist you with overcoming your addiction.

5. Mental Health Issues

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems, you may be more likely to abuse alcohol to cope with the feelings they cause. However, because alcohol itself is usually a depressant, this may only make matters worse. Therapy and prescription medications can be helpful in treating these problems and help you avoid alcohol abuse.

It can be tempting to overuse alcohol to deal with life’s stressors, environment, and events. However, when you understand what might trigger alcoholism, you can take effective steps to avoid it.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "5 Factors That may Contribute To Alcohol Abuse," in Medicalopedia, January 28, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8284/5-factors-that-may-contribute-to-alcohol-abuse/].