Alcohol Addiction: The Difficulties and Causes

Alcohol addiction is always portrayed as a depressing and unfortunate evil that needs to be managed by twelve-step programs and maintaining sobriety. Different factors and causes for alcoholism exist, such as traumatic events and depression. Depending on gender, likelihood, and style of treatment differs. While financial income and socio-economic status can contribute to alcoholism, the effect is often the reverse of what public opinion assumes it to be. Sexual orientation can be a cause of depression and stress, which can lead to alcohol addiction. While alcoholic beverages are a socially accepted substance that can be consumed in many different forms, they are abused often and can be more difficult for some alcoholics to maintain sobriety than others. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states:

According to NESARC, 8.5 percent of adults in the United States met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, whereas 2 percent met the criteria for a drug use disorder and others. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states:1.1 percent met the criteria for both. People who are dependent on drugs are more likely to have an alcohol use disorder than people with alcoholism are to have a drug use disorder. Young people ages 18–24 had the highest rates of co-occurring alcohol and other drug use disorders (see figure). Men were more likely than women to have problems with alcohol, drugs, or the two substances combined.

The actual cause of alcoholism, also known as “Alcohol Use Disorder” or AUD, is still unknown. However, there is a strong link between alcoholism and depression, and nearly one-third of people with major depression also have an alcohol problem (WebMD, 2005-2017, paragraphs 3-4). Having anxiety, schizophrenia, or a high amount of stress increases the risk of becoming an alcoholic (Healthline, 2017, paragraph 3). Alcohol addiction is also known to be hereditary, and there have been studies about genes being associated with it. However, genetics isn’t always a factor, and people with these associated gene variants aren’t necessarily prone to addiction.

Diversity Lenses of Alcoholism


While there is a difference between men and women when it comes to the likelihood of becoming an alcoholic, different factors such as pregnancy, trauma and injury are more associated. Because of body size differences, women generally get more intoxicated than men from the same amount of alcohol. Also, alcohol use and abuse have been associated with people in the workforce because of stress and social demand. Since more women have been entering the workforce in the past century, an increase in female drinking has occurred (Ghosh P. 2012). Men are twice as likely as women to become dependent upon alcohol because men are more likely to drink excessively (CDC, 2016). While men make up about sixty percent of the number of people being treated for alcoholism, and are more likely to find treatment before women, they often hesitate to find treatment because they believe it acknowledges a weakness, affects their masculinity, their ego or they feel they are letting people down (Gender and Substance Abuse).

Socio-economic Status

Alcoholism is linked to stress and depression based on people’s socio-economic status., People may be more stressed and turn to alcohol or narcotics. Lesser-educated individuals tend to have a higher intake of alcohol than more highly-educated individuals. Based on income, however, higher-income individuals tend to drink more than lower-income individuals (Addiction among Socioeconomic Groups). Better treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is more accessible for people of higher income, and is easier to be discreet about, which is why there is a stereotype that more people lower on the socio-economic scale are alcoholics (Straus, V. 2013).

Sexual Orientation

Possibly as much as twenty-five percent of gay and transgender people abuse alcohol, compared to anywhere from five to ten percent of the rest of the general population (Hunt, J. 2012). There are a number of reasons that this is so, including prejudice, and discrimination, the feeling of isolation. All of these factors can lead to depression, in which people often use alcohol to drink away their problems. Another reason why alcohol is often associated with people of non-heterosexual orientation is that up until very recently, the only practical way to meet other people of the same orientation was to go to a designated bar, often secretly and not always legally.

Stages of Alcohol Abuse

Social Drinking

Before alcohol consumption is considered abusive, there is casual drinking, in moderation. This is generally an accepted amount of intakes, such as a glass of beer, or a few shots of whiskey (Social Drinking vs. Alcoholism, 2013). This  usually introduces the body to alcohol.

Binge Drinking

            People may experiment with how much they can drink at a time. Having many servings at a time causes the body to start craving more and builds a tolerance (Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: MedlinePlus).

Heavy Drinking

            Eventually, the drinking becomes more frequently, such as many times a day, because it makes the body feel good. This is often because of stress or boredom.

Problem Drinking

            Once a person starts becoming antisocial, the body feels sick, and loss of sleep or depression occurs, drinking has become a problem. Relationship issues can occur, and drinking eventually becomes uncontrollable.

Alcohol Dependence

            Finally, the body requires alcohol to operate. Intake of recreational levels of alcohol is useless because the body has developed a tolerance. The body goes through withdrawal whenever alcohol isn’t available. The only way to stop being alcohol dependent is to go through detoxification, either professionally or otherwise.


In summary, the cause of alcoholism is unknown. While there is research material that shows it is hereditary, these conclusions are not absolute. While gender is a factor, it could be because women do not have the same metabolism as men, or because women haven’t significantly been in the workforce until the past century, which could be associated with their likelihood to drink. The socio-economic status of drinkers isn’t a cause for alcoholism, but may reveal the tendencies of an alcoholic based on the stress levels or how they may get dependent on alcohol, and whether they can afford to or not. People who have had more education are less likely to get addicted, but people with a higher income are more likely. Sexual orientation can attract discrimination and isolation, which often cause stress, which in turn can lead people to turn to drugs and alcohol. Finally, everyone responds to alcohol differently, so different people may have higher tolerance levels and likelihoods of becoming alcohol dependent.


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Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

CDC (2016, March 07). Fact Sheets – Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Gender and Substance Abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Ghosh, P. (2012, December 29). The Alcoholism Gender Gap: Why Are More U.S. Women Becoming Problem Drinkers? Retrieved December 10, 2017, from becoming-problem-drinkers-316486

Healthline. (2017, August 23). Alcoholism. Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms.
Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Hunt, J. (2012, March 9). Why the Gay and Transgender Population Experiences Higher Rates of Substance Use. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from content/uploads/issues/2012/03/pdf/lgbt_substance_abuse.pdf

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction (NIAAA). (2008, July). Publications.
Alcohol and Other Drugs Retrieved January 25, 2009, from

Social Drinking vs. Alcoholism. (2013, November 19). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Strauss, V. (2013, October 28). Five stereotypes about poor families and education. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from stereotypes-about-poor-families-and-education/

T, B. (2017, December 5). How to Tell the Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Dependence. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

WebMD. (2005 – 2009). Depression Guide. Alcohol and Depression. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from


Dissecting PDB and PRC files (Palm OS)

Say you have a PDB or PRC file from an old Palm device, and it has things you want. Some things this could be include calendar info, audio, text memos, etc. Things of various formats could be stored in these Palm Record files to be read by the device. The problem is that these files can’t necessarily be processed or simply extracted and immediately be useable.

These files typically have some header info, and then the actual file or files contents. Each file is stored in its own record, and larger files may need to be stored in multiple records possibly. Regardless, to break apart these files, I tried many different methods.

First, I analyzed some files with a text editor to inspect the idea of what I was looking at. I had a particular file I wanted to extract, an alarm sound called Concerto, as it isn’t available online in the original MIDI format. After finding the correct PDB file which contained about fifty records of MIDI sounds from a backup, I started attempting to dissect it.

One method included running a Java program to zip the contents as output, but it would create a massive massive file that could not actually be processed. Afterward, I analyzed the PDB file with a hex-editor to possibly break it apart. Some further research and someone suggested using API from a Java program written for Linux users to HotSync their devices called JSyncManager. This older program is open source, but to obtain the source code, I needed to use the obsolete CVS protocol to download it from Source Forge with the free version of CVSNT. The Java module that I needed got me nowhere.

I eventually ran into two lovely programs called PalmDump and PDBMake. PalmDump would output all the data of a PDB or PRC file in both Hex and ASCII form in two columns, into a single text file, and with separate headers for each record. This was helpful and helped me confirm that I was looking for record 3 from the file. However, I was getting lost to the point that I posted on the Reddit SlaveLabour network. But before anyone responded, I found the solution myself.

When taking the hexadecimal data and putting it into its own file using a hex-editor didn’t work. I tried putting a different MIDI of Game of Thrones music into a PDB file and saw something unusual in the header.

I then confirmed my suspicion when I discovered the program of Par. This program essentially lets you properly dump all the records into their own files from a PDB or PRC file, similar to extracting a ZIP archive. When comparing the hex data of record 3 which I knew to be a MIDI, to the Game of Thrones MIDI, I realized the file header for MIDI format required that it start with MThd. The header I was seeing for the file was PMrc..Concerto.MThd.

By removing that header up to the MThd with the hex-editor, I was able to playback the file as a MIDI! Sure, it didn’t sound exactly the same because of the different SoundFont included on Windows, giving it a piano instead of a beep. With WAVE audio files, the header starts with RIFF, but Palm adds its own stuff prepended at the beginning.