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Causes of Alcoholism: An In-depth Understanding of the Disease

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causes-of-alcoholism-watershedWhat are the causes of alcoholism? Whether you’re suffering from it yourself, or if you’re the friend or family member of an alcoholic, you’re bound to ask the question at least once. Especially when entering the recovery process, many alcoholics wonder why they have to suffer from such a powerful and deadly disease. As a result, there are millions who question the disease of alcoholism and wonder exactly what the causes of alcoholism are.

Causes of Alcoholism

Brain Chemistry 

One of many reasons an alcoholic may have become susceptible to the disease of alcoholism can be directly linked to brain chemistry.  The brain creates a chemical known as dopamine, which allows individuals to feel pleasure.  When a person drinks alcohol, this chemical is released, so naturally an alcoholic will want to drink more to keep these feelings going.  The only problem is that the more alcohol that is continually consumed, the more likely the chance is of a physical and mental dependency to alcohol.  This is where the brain chemistry is altered because the brain is convinced that it needs alcohol in order to function.


Along with the brain, genetics also play a role in potential causes of alcoholism.  At least an ample 95% of alcoholics had a family member wind up with a drinking problem.  With a statistic like this to back up the fact that genes do play a part in the disease that can be hereditary, alcoholism is truly an extensive disease.  Alcoholism can affect multiple generations because there is an addictive personality trait that could be potentially inherited where the individual seeks substances to cope with life.  In fact, children who have had alcoholic parents are more likely to have a drinking problem themselves, and their own children may be prone to have trouble with substances as well.  It is a disease to be cautious of.

Peer Pressure

Being vigilant of peer pressure is another matter to be aware of, because this can be one of the causes of alcoholism as well.  Societal pressures can hold an incredible amount of weight on a person’s shoulders, which can push them toward drinking more often than they normally might.  When a person is drinking more than they usually would, they can start forming the dependency to alcohol.  This can relate to personality traits, which can also have much to do with reasons for alcoholism.  If a person has trouble with communicating their needs to others, they may be more inclined to self-medicate so they can deal with problems in their life because they don’t know how to address their wants and needs to others in any other natural or healthy appropriate manner.  When lacking the ability to connect with others, there’s an increased risk to turn to substances as a crutch, which can attribute to causes of alcoholism due to dependency to the drug.  Having low self-esteem can drive a person to use substances like alcohol as an artificial boost to temporarily boost their levels of self-confidence.  These types of people may additionally carry other distressing mental health issues, like depression, and express feelings of low self-worth.

Although questioning why an alcoholic has been inflicted with their disease can provide them with a sense of absolution, having certainty in the information won’t change the fact that they still must adhere to the maintenance of their program of recovery in order to stay stable long-term.  Noticing there are many causes of alcoholism can be helpful but it is important to stay in the solution, keep positive, and move forward instead of pinpointing focus on the problem.  After some time sober, the alcoholic may come to realize that alcohol was but a symptom of a greater problem because the disease affects the individual not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  This leaves the most effective form of treatment being one that can tackle each of these areas.

Are you affected by the disease of alcoholism?  Contact The Watershed today for help, where it is understood that both mind and body are impacted.  Recovery is possible when both can be treated, so call today at 1-800-861-1768 because The Watershed wants to and can help guide you toward a restored future.

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