Alcoholism is one of the most harmful and impactful addiction diagnoses here in the UK. It’s driven by the consumption and support of the heavily normalised substance of alcohol, legal to purchase and perceived as safe for exposure.

Although alcohol is deemed as safe when sensibly consumed, following recommended guidelines, keeping to such advice can be difficult for those who are feeling the controlling effects of alcohol.

Alcohol is in fact an addictive substance, due to the positive reinforcement that it creates in the brain. Its effects are longed for, through its relaxing and suppressing makeup. However, those feel-good effects can be addictive, tipping the scales on guidelines and instead of reflecting an alcohol addiction.

The development of alcohol addiction can happen quickly, depending on the motivator behind its exposure and also exposure rates. While it is a heavily normalised and promoted substance, there are many unknowing vulnerabilities that can turn social and safe consumption into an addiction. Here’s some insight into ‘what causes alcohol addiction?’, along with some risk factors, to understand the probability of addiction.

If you’re looking for treatments and therapies to work through alcoholism, at Addiction Advocates, we’re equipped with personal recommendations to help withdraw and treat alcohol addiction.


Who is at risk of Alcohol Addiction?

Alcoholism can affect any individual who’s exposed to alcohol and its rewarding effects. However, certain people are at a higher risk of alcohol addiction than others, due to consumption rate, vulnerabilities, and consistent exposure.

Those who are exposed to alcohol regularly are at greater risk of normalising ongoing consumption of alcohol, which can enable the actions and behaviours of addiction. This is also the case for underage drinkers, where alcohol consumption has been accepted and promoted in some scenarios, increasing the risk of alcohol addiction later in life.

Alcoholism is also hereditary, meaning that family history can genetically increase the probabilities of addiction development, boosting the susceptibility of addictive stimuli.

Taught behaviours and social norms can also impact those who are easily influenced. Individuals with pre-existing health issues are also at higher risk of addiction development, due to the changes that alcohol incurs to brain structure and health.

Justifiably, those who are situated voluntarily and involuntarily, within exposure to excessive alcohol at a consistent or accepted rate are at greater risk of alcohol addiction. Yet the condition impacts people from all walks of life, due to the multitude of causations linked to addiction development.

To gauge risks, here’s some insight into ‘what causes alcohol addiction?’.


What causes Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction can amount to physical, psychological, social, and environmental influences. Once exposure to the positive rewards of alcohol is felt, on the internal reward system, any degree of vulnerabilities, including the below can cause alcohol addiction.

Common causes of addiction surrounding alcoholism include:

  • Stressful environments: Environments can impact mood, actions, and outlooks. Stressful, toxic, and influential environments are found to increase the desirability of alcohol consumption, to act as a relaxing and escaping agent. Exposure to those types of environments can therefore increase the justification of ongoing alcohol abuse, standing as causation of addiction.
  • Underage drinking: Exposure to alcohol from a young age can increase the acceptance and justification of ongoing consumption, along with its use as a coping strategy. Those who do drink under the age of 15 are at greater risk of alcohol addiction.
  • Genetics: Like many other conditions, addiction is hereditary, meaning that genetics can contribute to the risks of alcoholism. This supports how involuntary addiction is, caused by biology, rather than choice.
  • Mental health conditions: When considering ‘what causes alcohol addiction?’, the link between mental health and addiction is a clear factor. As alcohol impacts the central nervous system and also fulfils the reward system through artificial chemicals, it increases the risk of mental health symptoms. A coping strategy through the likes of depression lies in alcohol exposure, which can start the vicious cycle of a dual diagnosis. Alcohol exposure is also very common for those with pre-existing mental health issues, due to the fulfilling attributes of alcohol.
  • Drug-related consumption: In some instances, the pairing of drugs with alcohol can increase its effects. If this is a continuous pairing, the effects can become addictive, while influencing a personal tolerance. Both are causes of alcohol addiction, through parallel drug exposure.
  • Social pressures: As alcohol is widely accepted here in the UK, it’s regularly associated with social situations. Those situations can however result in pressures and the normalisation of excessive alcohol consumption, influencing greater rates of consumption.
  • Psychological trauma and pressures: Psychological trauma, whether from the past or present, is a common cause of alcohol addiction. Memories or flashbacks of such trauma can motivate the need for an escape, which is commonly seen through alcohol exposure. Such alcohol addiction cause can also increase the risk of a dual diagnosis, through an untreated or undigested traumatic moment.


Treatments and Therapies for Alcohol Addiction

There are many causes of alcohol addiction to consider, showcasing the unpredictable nature of addiction as a condition. Due to varying causes, it’s very important that treatments and therapies are personally suitable when aiming for alcohol addiction recovery.

For example, those who struggle through social pressures will require great intervention on social exposure, to detach the need to consume or fit into the norms. A further example focuses on mental health causations, where individuals will require dual diagnosis treatment, to also treat the cause of addiction.

The best way to experience suitable treatments and therapies will be through an alcohol rehab clinic, which we can direct you to. With knowledge of your causation, managing future exposure and relapse prevention can be aimed for, by proactively sustaining control.

For support with your alcoholism, contact our team for support. Alternatively, for more information on ‘what causes alcohol addiction?’, reach out for greater awareness of risks and possible influences. Being aware of alcoholism and personal triggers is very important. With awareness, their impact can be reduced, deterring addiction development.




  • [1] Alcoholism -
  • [2] Those who do drink under the age of 15 are at greater risk of alcohol addiction. -
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