Beginning with a perplexing question- what is alcoholism? In simplest terms the answer is that ‘alcoholism’ is the severest form of alcohol abuse, it is an individual’s dependency on alcohol to an extent that going through day to day life sends the chilliest shivers down the spine, when the mind and body cannot function without gulping down those glasses of alcohol. If your life centers around alcohol, it is a sign that alcohol is slowly consuming and reigning your life. It is also the time for a wake-up call to buckle up and see it for what it truly is- alcohol addiction.
Drinking in moderation is one thing but giving in to alcoholism is altogether a different matter. Alcohol as a substance abuse is a serious problem which has inflicted the world irrespective of the caste, creed, gender or age. Now, what leads to alcoholism, one may wonder. There is not one factor that can be branded as a culprit, multifarious factors play a collective role in influencing a person’s drinking habit.
Nobody is a born alcoholic, right? Well science says there is a genetic connection to it but again, let’s not blame any single mean gene here. There is a concerted group of genes in our DNA which acts as predisposed trigger leading to alcoholism. However, an individual wouldn’t be justified in taking to alcohol addiction because the parents and forefathers were alcoholics. The reason being that hereditary alcoholism is avoidable. It has been observed that hereditary risk factor leading to alcoholism may be prevented and curbed to a considerable extent provided that a person’s environment is good. So, wait before you blame your inherited genes for your addiction because genetic factor is only one half of the entire picture as there are a host of other social and environmental factors which impact an individual’s drinking habit. These factors include stress, peer pressure and social acceptance, coping with personal or financial loss, need for feel-good factor.
Alcohol is a known depressant which affects the central nervous system by slowing it down and many people drink alcohol to ease out stress or anxiety. It may seem like a perfectly soothing stress buster initially, however alcohol never really solves the purpose in the long run. It only acts as a short-term coping mechanism by suppressing the other underlying emotional and psychological causes temporarily.
The stimulant in alcohol is what draws people to it like moths to flame. If taken in moderate to small doses, the stimulants in alcohol give an initial boost to central nervous system, which people identify as the ‘happy buzz’ or the ‘feel good factor’. The effect however doesn’t last for very long because alcohol as a drug type belongs to depressant class.
Peer pressure is a massive pain which has pushed many people to take to alcohol especially at the young and tender age. The need for ‘social acceptance’ plays a nasty role here. For many teenagers, this may be only a phase which gradually fades but some get stuck in the addictive cycle of severe alcohol abuse.
Alcoholism has destroyed many families and relationships and it adversely affects our mental, emotional and physical health. As enticing as the intoxication of alcohol may appear to be, it isn’t really the best remedy for the mind, body or soul. It must be observed and deeply absorbed that neither is alcohol an ‘escape route’ to a pain-free life, nor is it a secret ‘mantra’ for a ‘blissful’ life and it most definitely doesn’t make one the coolest person around! It is only an intoxicating substance which seems to provide a temporary and elusive ‘escape’. As they say, ‘moderation’ is the magical key which provides solution to most of human woes in the world. So, let’s be mindful and add ‘drinking in moderation’ to that list. Remember, ‘alcoholism’ is a weighty concern and whether you let alcohol consume you or not is always a choice which lies with ‘you’.