Alcohol abuse is a very serious concern. In order to better appreciate the severity of abuse or addiction, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the causes. In some cases, if left unrecognized and untreated, alcohol abuse may get further out of control and develop into addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in comparison to women, men are more apt to drink excessively. Why is this? Here, we’ll examine some of the events or circumstances that may influence a man to use alcohol in a way that is harmful to his health.
Sense Of Camaraderie
Alcohol is involved within many social spheres. Certain events condone this behavior more than others with an increased sense of social acceptance. Some social sectors may even exert pressure on a person to drink or create a sense of competition around alcohol consumption. In moderate amounts, alcohol can be a part of a safe and fun outing, however, when used in excess and in greater frequencies, it can become a source of multiple dangers and risks.
Vocational Or Professional Struggles
Perhaps you have a hard time working with other people or maybe you exert too much pressure on yourself to succeed and achieve a state of perfection, and in turn, struggle to cope with failure. If a person is struggling within their job or facing undue amounts of pressure within their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, they may turn to drinking as a way to temper the frustration or stress at the end of the day. It may begin with one drink after work with coworkers or alone, and may eventually turn into a succession of drinks that begets a dangerous pattern of abuse.
At a time when a relationships falters or encounters hardships, a person may be apt to drink to numb the pain associated with the difficulty, especially if a separation was involved. People also have a harder time abstaining from alcohol if their significant other engages in excessive drinking around them.
Though this can be resultant from the other factors that we’ve mentioned above, it is worth highlighting on its own. One of the most common precursors to alcohol abuse for anyone—stress—is indeed a strong factor within alcohol abuse for men. Stress may be rooted in many things, which gives it a greater propensity towards being an issue, being that there are multiple ways in which it can originate. As a result, a person may experience stress in several capacities at once.
Binge drinking is itself alcohol abuse, however, it is noteworthy to include, because this pattern of behavior may be a precursor for more severe circumstances. Though binge drinking does not in itself make someone dependent on alcohol, it may increase the risk of developing an addiction to alcohol. According to the CDC, in comparison to women, men have twice the likelihood of binge drinking. They also state that 23 percent of men cite binge drinking on five occasions per month, consuming around eight drinks per binge.
Research illustrates that individuals who begin drinking at a younger age, especially those who practiced binge drinking, are more apt to develop an alcohol use disorder later in life.
General Psychological State
Your mindset may come into play and put you at a greater risk for alcohol abuse. MedlinePlus notes that individuals who have an impulsive nature or low levels of self-esteem may be more likely to have a problem with alcohol, especially when combined with other concerns.
Some men may feel as if our society or their relationships do not condone being as open with their emotions as women, thus, men may be more apt to bury their emotions and seek another way to handle their thoughts, struggles, or reactions.
Certain other negative mindsets may work towards creating an environment that encourages alcohol abuse. If a person is lonely or experiences a sense of isolation, they may drink to dispel this sense of being alone, and any sadness, frustration, or anger that may occur alongside of it.
Mental Health Concerns
Mental health disorders are very commonly linked to concerns of substance abuse. According to results from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, of the 20.2 million adults that had a substance use disorder, 7.9 million had a co-occurring mental health disorder—that’s nearly 40 percent of the people who struggle with this concern. Common examples of mental health disorders that may afflict men include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Mayo Clinic writes that alcohol and drug use could be a sign of male depression. Depression can affect a man in a different capacity than it does a woman. It may present differently and, due to the variance in symptoms, it is often overlooked and undiagnosed.
To further compound the problem, sometimes these mental health disorders create a state of functional impairment that inhibits their ability to do their job or have meaningful relationships, which can create even more stress and potential cues for alcohol abuse.
Difficulty Asking For Help
Men may experience a harder time asking for help. This is something that can impact many of the areas of concern we’ve already noted. Instead of asking for help, they may let the pressure, stress, or uncertainty of a concern pertaining to their job or relationship build up, to the point it pushes them towards alcohol abuse.
If they’re suffering from a mental health disorder or alcohol abuse or addiction, they may struggle to reach out and acknowledge they have a problem, thus allowing the issue to continue to grow and damage them. It is crucial to acknowledge the fact that there is a difference between self-control and self-care—asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s a measure of strength as you’re taking control over your life.
Research shows that individuals who have a parent or another close member of their family with an alcohol use disorder have a higher chance of developing one themselves, a risk that increases if certain genetic factors are also present.
The implications of genetics on alcohol abuse and addiction is complex, however, research does definitively illustrate that there is a connection between a person’s genetics and their likelihood of drinking. There is not a single gene that is responsible for this link, instead, it is a combination of many genes. The New York Times reports that scientists have determined the possibility of alcohol abuse and addiction being impacted by “genetic variations in 51 different chromosomal regions.”
In example, studies show that some people have a gene variant that inhibits their ability to break down one of alcohol’s byproducts within your body called acetaldehyde, resulting in uncomfortable side effects, which may deter some people from drinking.
Another gene, GABRA2, has been linked to an increased sensitivity to alcohol’s action on their functioning, thus, these people may be more inclined to drink, leading to a heightened risk of an alcohol addiction. These are only a couple of the genes that scientists have linked to patterns of alcohol consumption. Research is constantly advancing and illuminating more ways that our genetic makeup influences the manner in which we confront alcohol.
Maintaining Control Over Alcohol
It is important to note that genes alone do not determine a person’s chance of developing a drinking problem. Environmental, personal, and social factors all play into the way alcohol impacts a person, however, it is important that you do not negate any individual concerns, as together, they can create a greater propensity for a problem.
At any point, and within any form of alcohol abuse, it is important to remember that harm is occurring, and that certain risks are more prevalent or unique to men. In order to stop this cycle of damage to your body and brain, you must learn to change your thoughts and behaviors in a way that fosters better health and wellness. You can be empowered and learn various ways to stop drinking alcohol before further damage occurs to your body.
Fortunately, a variety of treatment programs exist that can help you or your loved one get back on your feet and in control over alcohol. Good treatment programs are created to address all of your unique needs. It is this holistic and individualized perspective that helps to ensure that you create the most solid foundation to base your recovery on.
These programs can help you address the factors we’ve noted above, by helping you to develop better coping, interpersonal, and communication skills. Additionally, if you struggle from a co-occurring disorder, there are many programs that offer dual diagnosis care, so that you can get thorough treatment for both concerns.
Helping You Find A Better Direction
Life can be stressful and full of many factors that may create a situation that tempts you to drink. Here, at AlcoholTreatment.net, we understand the challenges that you or your family member faces. Please, take the time to contact us. Our staff can help you to find even more resources on alcohol abuse and addiction. We can direct you towards programs that will support and engage you in finding not only an alcohol-free life, but an arsenal of coping skills to help you stay in better control of your life and sobriety.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Fact Sheets – Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — The Genetics of Alcoholism
MedlinePlus — Alcohol Use Disorder
Mayo Clinic — Male depression: Understanding the issues