20+ Years Experience

Specialist Inpatient Rehabilitiation

Alcoholism Causes

Enquire Today For A Free No Obligation Quote

Alcoholism, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, is often misunderstood and underestimated.

What causes someone to fall into the depths of alcohol addiction?

In this blog post, we will delve into the complex world of alcohol dependence and explore the various factors that contribute to its development, from genetic predispositions to environmental influences and mental disorders.

Contact Us

We will specifically focus on the causes of alcohol use disorders.

Empowering ourselves with knowledge about the causes of alcohol use disorder can help us better understand those who struggle with it and provide support to those in need.

So buckle up and join us on this eye-opening journey as we unravel the mysteries behind this pervasive and destructive disorder.

Short Summary

Understanding Alcoholism: A Brief Overview

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a complex condition that goes beyond the occasional indulgence in alcoholic beverages.

It involves a spectrum of severity, ranging from mild to severe, and is characterised by:

The disorder encompasses various indications and can have significant impacts on an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing.

In 2021, it was estimated that 3.4% of adolescents aged 12 to 17, or 894,000 individuals, had alcohol use disorder, meaning they drink alcohol excessively.

Clearly, alcohol use disorder is a pressing issue affecting people across various age groups, warranting further investigation into its causes and potential solutions.

The Science Behind Alcoholism: Causes and Factors

Alcoholism is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, changes in brain chemistry due to excessive alcohol consumption, and environmental influences.

Let’s delve deeper into these factors to understand how they interact and contribute to the development of alcohol use disorder.

Learn More

Genetic Factors

It has long been suspected that genetics play a significant role in the development of alcoholism.

In fact, studies have shown that the biological children of alcoholics are considerably more likely to become alcoholics themselves, regardless of whether they are raised by alcoholics or non-alcoholics.

This suggests that genetics have a substantial influence on the emergence of alcohol use disorder, affecting various aspects such as alcohol metabolism, hangover intensity, and inclination to engage in hazardous activities.

Scientists have identified as many as 51 genes in various chromosome regions that may be correlated with alcohol dependence.

This discovery highlights the complexity of alcohol use disorder and the need to consider the intricate interplay of multiple genes when investigating its causes.

Brain Chemistry Changes

Excessive alcohol consumption can have profound effects on the brain, altering its structure and function.

These alterations can lead to a dependence on alcohol, with individuals developing:

The connection between repetitive behaviour and increased vulnerability to developing alcoholism suggests that the brain’s reward system plays a crucial role in the disorder’s development.

As alcohol consumption continues, the brain becomes accustomed to its presence, leading to cravings and the development of alcohol use disorder.

Understanding the changes in brain chemistry that occur due to excessive alcohol consumption is essential in devising effective treatment strategies and helping those affected by the disorder.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors that can impact an individual’s risk of developing alcoholism include:

These environmental influences, along with genetic and psychological factors, can influence an individual’s susceptibility to alcoholism.

Furthermore, individuals belonging to specific sub-cultures may be more likely to engage in alcohol abuse and substance abuse, as it is often supported by other members and perceived as a way to gain approval.

Elevated levels of stress can also result in alcohol abuse, emphasising the importance of identifying alternative stress-relieving methods.

Recognising and addressing these environmental influences is crucial in preventing the development of alcoholism.

Mental Health Problems and Alcoholism

Mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, can increase the likelihood of alcoholism, as individuals may use alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Alcohol is frequently utilised to muffle emotions and alleviate the manifestations of psychological conditions, leading to a vicious cycle where alcohol abuse exacerbates mental issues.

The repercussions of concurrent substance abuse and mental health issues can be grave, with individuals often experiencing a worsening of their symptoms and a decreased ability to manage their alcohol intake.

Contact Us

Addressing the connection between mental wellbeing and alcoholism is vital in devising effective prevention and treatment strategies.

The role of the mental health services administration in this process is crucial for providing the necessary support and resources.

Identifying Alcoholism: Signs and Symptoms

Recognising the signs and symptoms of alcoholism is crucial in helping those affected by the disorder.

Indications may include craving or a powerful urge to consume alcohol, lack of control over drinking alcohol, physical dependence, tolerance, neglecting obligations, and continuing to drink despite negative outcomes.

Physical repercussions of alcohol addiction may include liver damage, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and an elevated risk of certain cancers.

Behaviours associated with alcohol addiction may include:

Being aware of these signs and symptoms can help individuals and their loved ones seek help and support in a timely manner, mitigating the potential ramifications of alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism Risk Factors

Many risk factors may contribute to the development of alcohol use disorder, including:

Alcohol use disorder is more prevalent in individuals in their twenties and thirties.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions can also increase the risk of alcohol problems.

Personality traits, such as risk-seeking or risk-ignoring tendencies, extreme shyness, and a desire to be “the life of the party,” may also contribute to the likelihood of developing alcoholism.

Understanding the various risk factors associated with alcohol use disorder can help individuals and their loved ones take preventive measures and seek appropriate support when needed.

Consequences of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can lead to both short-term and long-term consequences.

Enquire Now

In the short term, impaired judgment and coordination may result from excessive alcohol consumption, increasing the risk of alcohol-related problems and injuries.

Long-term health consequences of alcohol abuse may include:

In addition to physical health complications, alcohol abuse may also result in financial hardship, relationship issues, and legal matters.

The social implications of alcohol abuse can be far-reaching, with individuals often experiencing difficulties in maintaining healthy relationships, employment, and overall quality of life.

Addressing the consequences of alcohol abuse is essential in promoting recovery and preventing further harm, which is why many people choose to stop drinking.

Treatment Options for Alcoholism

Treating alcoholism effectively often requires a multifaceted approach, combining medications, behavioural therapies, and mutual-support groups.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved three medications to aid individuals in ceasing or decreasing their alcohol intake: naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.

These medications, when used in conjunction with behavioural therapies that focus on altering drinking behaviour, can be highly effective in providing alcohol treatment.

Continuing recovery with maintenance programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, has been shown to increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety compared to those who do not.

Tailoring treatment plans to the unique needs of each individual is crucial in ensuring the most effective and sustainable recovery.

Preventing Alcoholism: Tips and Strategies

Preventing alcoholism involves early intervention, recognising signs and symptoms, and promoting healthy coping strategies and support systems.

Maintaining hydration by consuming water or non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic beverages can help minimise the likelihood of developing an alcohol dependency.

Setting a limit on your alcohol use and keeping a record of it may also be beneficial in preventing alcohol use disorder.

Identifying and avoiding potential triggers, seeking support from family members and friends, and exploring alternative stress-relief methods, such as yoga, meditation, or exercise, are essential steps in preventing alcoholism.

By implementing these strategies, individuals can reduce their risk of developing alcoholism and foster a healthier relationship with alcohol.


In conclusion, alcoholism is a complex and multifaceted disorder influenced by genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

Understanding the causes of alcohol use disorder, recognising its signs and symptoms, and being aware of the various treatment and prevention strategies are crucial in addressing this pervasive issue.

By empowering ourselves with knowledge, we can better support those who struggle with alcoholism and work towards a healthier, more informed society.

As we navigate the complexities of alcoholism, let us remember the importance of compassion and understanding for those affected by this disorder.

Through education, early intervention, and support, we can make a difference in the lives of those struggling with alcoholism and help them on their journey towards recovery and a brighter future.

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main causes of alcoholism?

Alcoholism is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, social and psychological influences, such as:

It can also be influenced by biological conditions, including brain chemistry and hormone levels.

What are the 4 types of drinkers?

There are four types of drinkers: enhancement, coping, social, and conformity.

Enhancement drinkers drink for the excitement it brings while coping drinkers look to it to forget their worries.

Social drinkers use drinking as an excuse to celebrate with friends, and conformity drinkers simply drink to fit in.

Is alcoholism a coping mechanism?

Alcoholism is a coping mechanism.

However, its temporary benefits come at the cost of negative effects on health, relationships and decision-making, as well as an increased risk of dependency.

Alcoholism can lead to a range of physical and mental issues, including liver damage, depression, and anxiety.

It can also damage relationships, as it can lead to arguments, financial problems, and even domestic violence. Furthermore, it can impair decision-making.

What are the factors that can influence the effect alcohol has on a person?

Factors that affect how alcohol affects a person are:

These factors can influence how quickly alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, how quickly it is metabolised, and how long it takes for the effects to wear off.

What is the definition of alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a medical condition characterised by an impaired ability to stop drinking or control alcohol use, and a strong desire to drink alcohol despite adverse consequences.

It is a chronic and progressive disease that can have serious physical, psychological, and social consequences.

It is estimated that more than 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder, and it is the third leading cause of preventable death.

Find Out More

Our Other Services

There are a range of other services that we can provide. Have a look at the list below for more information:

Get In Touch With Our Team

We Aim To Reply To All Enquiries With-in 24-Hours