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Why Are Some People Alcoholics?

Francisco Church
Chief Editor of - Recovery Ranger

Francisco Church is a rehabilitation specialist and the chief editor of Recovery Ranger. He creates this site to offer guidance and support to individuals seeking...Read more

Alcoholism is an illness that affects a growing number of people around the world. It’s a devastating condition that can have serious physical, mental and social consequences for individuals and their families. But why do some people become alcoholics? In this article, we’ll explore the various factors that contribute to alcoholism and the potential treatments available for people suffering from this condition.

Why Are Some People Alcoholics?

What Factors Contribute to Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive illness that is characterized by a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Alcoholism affects people from all walks of life and it is estimated that one in eight adults in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder. There are a number of factors that contribute to alcoholism, including genetics, environment, and mental health.


Research suggests that a person’s risk for developing alcoholism may be partially influenced by genetics. Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop an alcohol dependence than those without a family history. Additionally, certain genetic variants have been linked to an increased risk of alcohol use disorder, suggesting that genetics might play a role in a person’s risk of developing alcoholism.


The environment in which a person is raised can also play a role in their risk of developing alcoholism. Studies have suggested that people who are raised in an environment where drinking is socially accepted or encouraged may be more likely to start drinking at an earlier age and to develop an alcohol dependence. Additionally, people who live in areas with a higher prevalence of alcohol use may be more likely to become alcoholics.

Mental Health

Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can also increase a person’s risk of developing alcoholism. People with these disorders may use alcohol as a way to cope with their symptoms, which can lead to an addiction. Additionally, people who have a history of trauma or abuse may be more likely to turn to alcohol as a way to cope with their feelings of distress and anxiety.

What Are The Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism can be difficult to recognize, as many people who suffer from the disorder may be in denial or unaware of the severity of their drinking. However, there are some signs that may indicate that a person is struggling with an alcohol use disorder.

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Physical Symptoms

Physical signs of alcoholism may include frequent drunkenness, redness of the face, trembling hands, blackouts, and difficulty controlling drinking habits. Additionally, alcoholics may experience a decrease in their physical health, such as weight loss, fatigue, and a weakened immune system.

Behavioral Symptoms

Behavioral signs of alcoholism may include an inability to control drinking habits, frequent change in moods, isolation from family and friends, and neglecting responsibilities. Additionally, alcoholics may experience an increase in risky behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated or engaging in unprotected sex.

What Are The Treatments for Alcoholism?

There are a number of treatments available for alcoholism that can help individuals manage their disorder and reduce their risk of relapse. It is important to note that treatment should be tailored to the individual, as what works for one person may not be effective for another.


Medications such as naltrexone and acamprosate can be used to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol use disorder. Additionally, certain antidepressants can be used to treat depression and anxiety, which are common in people with alcoholism.


Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can be used to help individuals identify and manage triggers that lead to alcohol cravings. Additionally, therapy can also help individuals develop coping strategies to manage stress and other emotions that can lead to relapse.

What Are The Complications of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism can lead to a number of physical and mental health complications, including liver disease, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, alcoholics are at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as liver and breast cancer.

Organ Damage

Alcoholism can lead to damage to the liver, heart, and brain. Heavy drinking can cause fatty deposits to build up in the liver, leading to cirrhosis or liver failure. Additionally, drinking can lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular complications.

Mental Health Complications

Alcoholism can also lead to mental health complications, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, drinking can impair a person’s judgment and increase their risk of engaging in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex or driving while intoxicated.

Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. On the biological side, alcoholism can be caused by genetic predisposition, meaning if there is a history of alcohol abuse in the family, it increases the likelihood of developing alcoholism. Psychological factors can include underlying mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, or a history of trauma. Environmental factors can include stress, peer pressure, or access to alcohol.

How Does Alcoholism Affect the Brain?

Alcoholism can have a significant impact on the brain. Regular and prolonged alcohol consumption can alter the chemistry of the brain, making it difficult for the individual to control their drinking habits. Alcohol can also impair cognitive functions, such as decision-making, reasoning, and problem-solving, as well as impairing memory and concentration. Long-term alcohol abuse can also lead to permanent brain damage.

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What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholism?

Common symptoms of alcoholism include a strong craving for alcohol, difficulty controlling drinking habits, an inability to limit drinking, an increased tolerance for alcohol, physical withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, and a change in personality or behavior when drinking. Additionally, alcoholics may experience a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed, problems with relationships, and financial difficulties due to excessive drinking.

What Are the Consequences of Alcoholism?

The consequences of alcoholism can be significant and far-reaching. Long-term alcoholism can lead to physical health problems, such as liver and heart damage, as well as mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, alcoholics may risk legal trouble due to impaired judgment or involvement in dangerous activities while under the influence. Finally, alcoholics may experience difficulties in their personal relationships due to their drinking.

How Can Alcoholism Be Treated?

Alcoholism can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on the individual’s needs. Treatment can include therapy, medications, support groups, and lifestyle changes. Therapy can help people address the underlying issues that contribute to their drinking habits, while medications can help reduce cravings and alleviate symptoms of withdrawal. Support groups can provide a sense of community and accountability. Finally, lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, improving sleep habits, and eating a healthy diet can help support recovery.

What Does Recovery from Alcoholism Look Like?

Recovery from alcoholism looks different for everyone, but in general, it involves making lifestyle changes to support sobriety, such as avoiding high-risk situations, developing healthier relationships, and engaging in activities that do not involve alcohol. Recovery also includes attending therapy sessions and support groups, where individuals can gain insight into their drinking habits and learn how to manage their cravings. Finally, abstaining from alcohol completely is the ultimate goal in recovery.

Why Do Some People Become Alcoholics?

Alcoholism is an illness that affects millions of people around the world. It is a complex disorder with no single cause, but it is often associated with family history, genetics, mental health, and stressful life events. Despite the challenges associated with alcohol addiction, there is hope for recovery through treatment, support, and self-care. People can and do recover from this illness, and with the right help and support, they can regain control of their lives and find a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Francisco Church is a rehabilitation specialist and the chief editor of Recovery Ranger. He creates this site to offer guidance and support to individuals seeking to overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety. With extensive experience in the field of addiction treatment, Francisco is dedicated to helping individuals access the resources they need for successful recovery.

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