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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation


Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a complex condition with multiple contributing factors. While it's challenging to pinpoint a single cause for each individual, there are several common factors that can increase the risk of developing alcoholism. The five most common causes or risk factors for alcoholism include:

  1. Genetic Factors: A family history of alcoholism can significantly increase the risk of developing AUD. Genetic predisposition plays a role in an individual's susceptibility to alcohol dependence.

  2. Environmental and Social Factors: The environment in which a person grows up and their social surroundings can influence alcohol use. Factors such as peer pressure, exposure to heavy drinking, and the availability of alcohol can contribute to alcoholism.

  3. Psychological Factors: Underlying mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or stress, can drive individuals to use alcohol as a means of self-medication. This can lead to a cycle of dependence and addiction.

  4. Early Age of Onset: Starting to drink at a young age, especially before the legal drinking age, is a risk factor for developing alcoholism. Early initiation of alcohol use can increase the likelihood of developing problematic drinking patterns.

  5. Coping Mechanisms: Some individuals turn to alcohol as a way to cope with life's challenges, stress, or emotional pain. Using alcohol as a coping mechanism can lead to dependence and addiction over time.

It's important to note that these factors can interact and overlap, and not everyone exposed to these risk factors will develop alcoholism. The development of alcohol use disorder is influenced by a combination of these factors and can vary from person to person. Seeking help and support is crucial for those who believe they may be struggling with alcoholism, as it is a treatable condition with various interventions and treatments available.

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