Causes of alcoholism


Alcoholism is a severe problem nowadays. The causes of alcoholism may vary. Some people drink alcohol moderately and they don’t have to worry about developing an alcohol addiction, when others, tasted alcohol once, can’t stop and become alcoholics. Why does alcohol affect people that differently?

Let’s take a look at alcohol effects on the brain. The balance of certain chemicals in the brain is changing during alcohol consumption. The function of gamma-amino butyric acid, which controls impulse actions, for example, dramatically goes down. The brain stimulator of the central nervous system – glutamate- also changes it’s influence. Under alcohol effect, the dopamine level is changes and the “pleasure” mechanism is trigged. As a result, the brain chemistry is changing and organism experiences an intense need in alcohol, to feel better. And every time it needs to use more and more alcohol.

It is common for people to have a desire to feel good, so they drink alcohol over and over again to feel euphoric. If a person needs alcohol to feel good, it might be a worrying sign, pointing at the risk of alcohol addiction developing. The disease is progressing as soon as the brain chemistry changes and organism requires using of more alcohol.

What causes alcoholism

Why do some people become alcoholics and others not? There are certain factors of alcohol addiction developing. Having at least one of them means a person is at risk of becoming an alcoholic. Let alone observing several factors in a person’s behavior.

Risk factors for alcoholism:

  • Heredity is an important part in developing alcohol addiction. If  parents or grandparents were dependent on alcohol, there is a high risk of their child to become an alcoholic. Of course, it is not necessary for the children of alcoholics to become alcoholics themselves. But according to the alcohol addicted people’s clinical history cases, the risk is really high;
  • Emotional factors. Very often  the cause of alcoholism dependency becomes a person’s wish to suppress strong negative emotions and stress. There are special hormones that influence higher alcohol consumption while a person is under stress.
  • Psychological causes of alcoholism. People with low self-esteem and those who are often stressed are under greater risk of becoming alcoholics.
  • Social causes of alcoholism. The legal use of alcohol, its availability and positive advertising made alcohol the part of modern society culture.
  • The frequency of alcohol consumption. If a person drinks alcohol regularly, it can be developed into a disease. Those who drink alcohol for a long time, have more chances to become alcoholics.
  • The age. Young adults are more likely to develop alcohol dependence, especially if they started drinking younger than 16.
  • The gender. Men are more likely to become alcoholics, when women become alcoholics sooner than men.

Having any of these factors doesn’t mean a person is going to become an alcoholic. But it is important to know and not to get trapped by alcohol addiction.

The most common delusion of many people who drink alcohol is that they can’t develop alcohol dependence. But the risk of becoming an alcoholic, living in a society where alcohol consumption –either a glass of beer at a sporting event or gourmet wine at a VIP- reception, is very high. Moreover, very often well-off and important people who have everything they want and even more, become alcoholic, not realizing it.

Society, praising alcohol consumption – from drinking beer at the sporting events to gourmet wines at high rank institutions – risk factors of developing alcohol addiction are equal.

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Alcoholism as a social problem

The problem of alcoholism is not new in the world, but it is more severe now, because alcohol is everywhere and it is very popular. It is hard for many people to tell where casual drinking becomes alcohol abuse. A person who becomes alcoholic very seldom accepts the fact that that he has problems with alcohol consumption and needs help from the outside.


To solve the problem of mass alcoholism it is important to educate people and explain all details of the disease, so that they were aware how alcohol dependence develops and what can be the outcome. It should be spoken about more often than about so called pleasant moments of being drunk (which is imposed by the commercials from alcohol manufacturers).

Why is alcohol so popular all over the world except the countries where alcohol consumption is prohibited by the law or religion and where children alcohol abuse is a severe problem for already many years? There are a number of factors of such a social problem:

  • Lifestyle and traditions.

In Russia, for example, alcohol is obligatory on every single celebration. Any event in a life – the birth of a baby, baptizing, anniversary, wedding, getting perks and even buying something expensive is traditionally being “ washed over”, and of course not with water. Alcohol is a remedy even for being stressed or tired – both mentally and physically. Even casual friends meeting always include drinking alcohol, let alone serious problems or grief, which Russians literally pour over with alcohol. The state of being drunk lets a person to avoid the problem for some time, but not solve it. Several generation will change before these traditions will leave our lives. Although there are attempts to lead a healthy lifestyle, taken by people who are aware of the problem.

  • Parents’ example.

It is scientifically proved that children whose parents almost don’t drink alcohol also seldom drink alcohol when they become adult. If children observe their parents drinking alcohol form the very young age, it becomes a usual thing for those children and they don’t see any harm drinking alcohol later in their life. Of course, there are always exceptions. Many off-springs of alcoholic parents don’t drink alcohol, have different lifestyle and try to help their relatives providing treatment for them.

The causes of teenagers alcoholism is sometimes because of their families imperfection or because of the fact that their patents are alcoholics. But teenagers alcoholism is pretty often in full and well-off families where always busy parents don’t give enough attention and time to their children.

  • Repeated  stresses

Modern life is full of emotions, stresses and fears. Most people are not sure in their future and in future of their children. A person literary has to fight for his life, trying to make money for living and provide for his family. Problems at work and family conflicts make people anxious and a lot of them try to drown their sorrows in drink. People who suffer from alcohol addiction are usually not satisfied with their life.

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The problem of women’s alcoholism

For many people alcohol has become the only interest in their life. Women’s alcoholism has its own place in this problem because its consequences on woman’s mental health are irreversible.

What are the causes of women’s alcoholism and why do women start drinking? The most common factors for doing this are psychological factors. Loneliness, disappointing in a family life and sexual problems together make a hothouse to develop addiction to alcohol.

Very often all those problems have quite successful women with a good career in business, perfect wives and loving and caring mothers. Everything seems well on the surface but she feels something wrong not being happy and trying to find this happiness she tries to find the solution in a bottle of alcohol.

A devoted mother and wife, giving all her life to her family – husband and children, at some period in her life can get disappointed in those principles which her life was built on and which she inculcated her children. The factor, making life crisis deeper can become infidelity of her husband or realizing of her sexual dissatisfaction.

A successful woman realizes that after making a career, becoming economically independent and rising children she is alone with all her money in a luxurious but empty house. The young years are over together with the beauty, there is no loving man next to her and there is no one close to her to age together. So, the woman is trying to escape from reality and find the imaginary happiness with the help of alcohol.

The worst thing is that a woman is trying to drink alone, realizing perfectly well the social outrage with the drinking woman. Women chose alcohol using the rule from light to strong. First, they drink light drinks, then gin-tonic and beer and, when it is not enough, here come strong alcohol drinks. It makes the problem even more serious, because it is hard to explain to a person in our society that drinking one bottle of beer every day is an alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the sad fact that beer alcoholism is more often in our country than alcohol addiction, because only too much drinking women start drinking vodka and spirit instead of beer.

If the woman has already developed addiction, the symptoms of a disease are growing dramatically. Chronical alcoholism develops in 2-3 years of the constant consumption of alcohol. Irreversible changes in woman’s brain and internal organs take about the same time.

Widely accepted opinion that women’s alcoholism is not curable is only 90% true. In 10% of cases it is still possible to overcome woman’s addiction to alcohol. But it is really hard to do. As sadly as it is, 9 out of 10 women, drinking alcohol will suffer from alcoholism consequences.

Modern society has so many problems, that therapists, treating alcohol and drug addiction soon will be out of job. While one bottle of beer is a standard of our life, alcohol  will more and more trusting consumers, killing themselves in favor of alcohol manufacturers. As there is no safe dose of heroin, there is no alcohol without harmful consequences to the human organism.

Is there a solution to the problem? For Many centuries mankind was looking for ways to protect people from destructive alcohol effect. scientists and doctors worked on methods of  removing or minimizing alcohol effects, trying to take back to the normal life people who were drinking hard. The history of fighting alcoholism has a lot of examples tough effects on alcoholics. Among those cases – imprisoning of alcoholics, physical punishment and even the corporal punishment as well as prohibition. But not a single method could stop harmful habit of people to drink alcohol. And alcohol addiction rate is rapidly growing, including more people of different backgrounds.

Nowadays alcoholism is unsolved problem not only in Russia, but all over the world. There are 2 million of alcoholics in Russia. The  number makes this problem one, that should be solved on a state level and not be left to a person himself, because alcohol addiction became both medical and social threat to the whole nation long ago.

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