700 young people were asked about their drinking habits in a recent study. The “20-something’s” included in the study who drank alone had a 50% higher chance to develop alcoholism by age 25. Those who drank with other people had a significantly reduced risk. “According to researchers, young people who drink alone may be turning to alcohol in an attempt to cope with emotional disturbances, depression, and negative external factors.”
Alcohol abuse, for many, is a coping mechanism. Undiagnosed mental health disorders, untreated trauma, or general social discomfort can cause someone to feel a compulsive need to drink. Upon their first drink they discover a kind of relief in the euphoria created by alcohol. Alcohol encourages the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the mind which transmits messages of pleasure to the reward system. While feeling isolated, experiencing pleasure at the hands of alcohol becomes an embedded memory and eventually a habit. Loneliness is bad. Alcohol makes loneliness feel good.
Drinking alone is usually a behavior reserved for “advanced” alcoholics. However, more and more young people are becoming advanced in their alcoholism more quickly than ever before. In The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the authors primarily speak to older males who have developed alcoholism. Briefly, they touch on the profundity of alcoholism in young people. “We, who are familiar with the symptoms, see large numbers of potential alcoholics among young people everywhere. But try and get them to see it!” The authors explain that young people especially will think that their drinking has not gotten so bad and will be able to quit on their own. “Young people may be encouraged…to think that they can stop…on their own will power. We doubt if many of them can do it, because none will really eat to stop, and hardly one of them, because of the peculiar mental twist already acquired, will find he can win out.”
Problematically, young people in their 20’s consider themselves too young for recovery or treatment. “To be gravely affected,” The Big Book explains, “one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have.” Alcoholism can be fully developed at any age. The earlier the intervention for treatment, the longer life of sobriety one is able to live.
If you have a young person in your life needing treatment for alcoholism, call Aurora Recovery Centre today. We offer intervention services as well as medically assisted detox and residential inpatient programs. Our programs of care are focused on healing mind, body, and spirit, lighting the way to lifelong recovery. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.