What Are the Main Causes of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also referred to as alcohol use disorder, occurs when a person drinks so much that their body becomes dependent on alcohol. In this instance, alcohol becomes the most important thing in a person’s life, which comes with a host of negative consequences.

Addiction to alcohol is common in the United States. It is estimated that 14.5 million people struggle with this condition across the country. There are many different causes of alcoholism and in this blog post, we will highlight some of these main causes.

Family History

A person’s risk of having an alcohol addiction is higher if they have a parent or close relative with alcohol addiction. According to research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a person’s genes account for approximately 50% of the risk of alcohol use disorder.

The role of genetics in alcoholism (indeed addiction in general) is still being studied, though it is clear that there is a link between the two.

Underage Drinking

Further research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) shows that the younger a person starts drinking, the greater their chance of succumbing to addiction at some point in their life.

A person who begins drinking before they turn 15 is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence compared to a person who does not drink before the age of 21.

Mental Health Conditions

According to a student published in 2019, people with illnesses such as bipolar disorder or depression can be predisposed to alcohol addiction. This is especially true if a person alcohol to self-medicate.

Many people speak of “drowning their sorrows” after a major life stress, using alcohol to numb their feelings. There is a risk that this can turn into dependence.

Social Factors

Alcoholism doesn’t happen out of the blue and, in many cases, there are social factors that play a role in to what extent a person drinks. Friends, work, and family life can all influence a person’s drinking habits.

Other related factors here include:

  • Culture
  • Social and family norms
  • Poor parental support

On the subject of alcoholism, click here to learn more about codependency recovery.

Understanding the Main Causes of Alcoholism

While the prevalence of alcoholism in the United States is high, only a small percentage of people seek help. Less than 10% of people with past-year alcoholism receive any kind of treatment. Given that 95,000 die annually from alcohol-related deaths in the United States, the importance of seeking help cannot be overstated.

As this blog post highlights, there are a number of different causes of alcoholism. If you suffer from problems with alcohol, it is important to seek alcoholism treatment. We recommend that you speak to a medical professional about treatment options.

Like this blog post on the common causes of alcoholism? Be sure to check out our other informative articles on a wide range of interesting topics.

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