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Who is an alcoholic?

Myths/facts | Types | Causes | Effects

Causes
Genetic factor:
There appears to be a factor of inheritance in contracting the disease, a pre-disposition at the very least. According to one study, 70% of patients report a history of alcoholism in first or second degree family members (First degree family includes mother, father and children while second degree includes grandparents, uncles, aunts and more distant relatives). The individual without alcoholic first or second degree relatives has less than an 8-10% chance of developing alcoholism. On the other hand, if both of one's parents are alcoholics, then the chances for developing the disease rise to greater than 40% or four times the usual rate.

Family influences:
Family characteristics and behavioral patterns related to chemical use, influence chemical abuse and addiction. For example, if family members openly abuse substances, other family members may accept such abuse as normal and approved behaviour. The abusive period, the bedrock for the development of addiction, can often be carried out because of some family members' tolerance of chemical use within the family. Often, families whose members all abuse alcohol and other substances are bound together in larger kinship units within the same community or geographical areas.

Advertising:
Advertisements encourage consumers to believe that their lives can be enriched by a cigarette, a can of beer, a specific brand of whisky, an amphetamine such as a diet pill or a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. Even when consumers are warned about the possible life threatening consequences of use, as in cigarette advertisements, such warnings are ineffective.
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