What Causes Alcoholism?
The latest research suggests that there are a number of factors—genetic and environmental—that put a person at risk for developing alcoholism.
- Variations in the genes that affect how alcohol is metabolized within the body can affect a person’s risk of alcoholism. A good indicator of this is a family history of alcoholism.
- People who are genetically disposed to alcoholism may also start drinking at an earlier age than people who are not.
- Individuals who have suffered severe childhood trauma have a significantly higher risk of alcoholism.
- Individuals who lack positive family or peer support also have an increased risk of alcoholism.
- Certain co-occurring mental disorders, such as PTSD, depression, and bipolar disorder, can make a person more vulnerable to developing alcoholism as a coping mechanism. This is called co-morbidity.
It is important to note that not everyone who is influenced by the above factors will definitely develop alcoholism. Because there are so many factors, each alcoholic develops the disease differently.