The Reasons behind Alcoholism

 Substance use disorders are the major public health issues facing the United States today. It is estimated that more than 15 million Americans suffer from alcoholism. Several factors mitigate the onset of excessive alcohol use in people. These include genetics, general risk factors, gender, family links and people with emotional and behavioral disorders.


It has been discovered that there is one gene called DRD2 that causes humans to a predisposition toward alcoholism. The presence of this gene does not cause alcoholism itself but it does make the person feel the effects of alcohol more intensely which in turn can lead to the excessive use of alcohol. By itself, this gene is not a predictor of alcoholism but is thought to account for half of the total risk for alcoholism.

General Risk Factors

Other factors behind the excessive use of alcoholism include drinking in adolescence as well as drinking in the elderly. Although it is more common for young people to drink in excess, the elderly are not exempt and because of the serious life changes that can come about in the elderly they can be at an extreme risk.


is another factor. Most alcoholics are men, however; the incidence of alcoholism in women has been increasing in recent years.

People with emotional and behavioral disorders

are more susceptible to the abuse of alcohol as are people in low-income situations. It has also been found that people who live in urban areas are more likely to drink in excess leading to alcoholism than people who live in non-urban areas.

Sugar Cravings

Studies have shown that people who crave sugar have a higher tendency to drink alcohol in excess. It has not been proven yet whether sugar cravings can be used as an indicator for alcoholism or if people with alcohol addiction satisfy their cravings with sweet alcohol rather than sweet foods.

Family Links

People who come from families of alcoholics have more of a tendency to begin drinking alcohol at a younger age and eventually become alcoholics in the same manner as their alcoholic family members. This risk for alcoholism in sons of alcoholic fathers is more than 25% but the familial link seems to be weaker for women. People with a family history of alcoholism are also more likely to begin drinking at earlier ages, which increases their risk factors toward abuse.

Alcoholic beverages have been in existence for some 15,000 years. Drinking steadily and consistently over time can cause a physical dependence on alcohol as well as withdrawal symptoms when going without alcohol for very long. Physical dependence will not lead to alcoholism by itself. There must first be issues involved that cause the person to abuse alcohol and to abuse alcohol in an effort to deal with painful emotions and/or experiences. Many factors lead to alcoholism and alcohol abuse. These things are important to recognize when the alcoholic goes through recovery and quits abusing alcohol. Any factors that can be removed or solved need to be addressed as part of the alcoholism treatment.

This article is to be used for information purposes only. It is not a diagnosis, treatment or cure for alcoholism or any other physical, emotional or mental disorder. You should always consult a health professional for proper diagnosis, treatment or cure for any physical, emotional or mental disorder.