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What Causes Alcoholism?

So what causes alcoholism? There are a number of different reasons – and none can be viewed in isolation – because inevitably there will be more than one cause involved that leads to a person becoming an alcoholic addicted.

We are also all unique and shaped in different ways, so what causes one person to become dependent on alcohol, won’t also hold true for the next person. Understanding the Disease Theory can also be helpful here.

Hereditary and Genetic Factors

Advances in medical science are now showing indisputable evidence that there is a massive hereditary/genetic component in causing alcoholism. It’s obviously no co-incidence that children of alcoholics/addicts are far more susceptible to developing a drinking problem themselves.

There is naturally a modelling of behaviour influence in this because a large part of learned behaviour occurs from modelling our parents, but the genetic impact should not be under-estimated. Check out the Hereditary and Genetics pages for more on this.

Personality Factors

Some people tend to have addictive type personalities. Impulsive, take hasty decisions, do things without thinking – which can land you in trouble and end up in addiction.

A big part of that is having a certain level of emotional maturity. You’ll find that some people who end up with an addiction don’t know their limits compared to someone more emotionally mature who knows when they’ve had enough and have no problem in saying no or stopping.

Environmental Factors

We are all shaped to a large degree by our environment. Our upbringing, education, friends, peers, work, media all play a role. That can create a certain pressure or expectation to look, act, perform or think in a certain kind of way.

That pressure or expectation can lead to all sorts of problems like alcoholism, drug addiction or eating disorders. This is probably the biggest reason why so many famous people like actors or singers end up with drug or alcohol problems.

The same pressure or stress though that applies to the ‘star’ applies to the rest of us whether it be dealing with work, relationships, family or whatever. With today's lifestyle being so hectic - we end up out of balance/out of synch - and so end up using alcohol to help fill the void or emptiness we feel.

Psychological Factors

Depression and anxiety are often associated with alcohol or substance abuse. Sometimes though it’s difficult to be sure which causes which. Did the depression cause the problem - or did the addiction cause the depression?

Most treatment centers tend to treat the addiction as the primary illness, with the belief that by first taking care of that – your associated illnesses like depression will be resolved far easier.


This probably ties in closely with the environmental factors category and associated peer pressure – but a lot of youngsters especially, experiment with substances like alcohol or drugs out of boredom and feeling like they have nothing better to do – with the end result being that some will inevitably end up addicted.

So now that you know what causes alcoholism - it’s a matter of knowing what to do about it. Because once you have full blown alcoholism you have a compulsion to drink that is so strong you simply cannot control it - and not amount of will power will help you overcome it.

So check out this

Alcoholism and Treatment piece and get to grips with what Rehab entails.

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