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Risk Factors For Alcoholism

You and your friend have similar lives. Both of you live in the safe and well-off neighborhood of Valrico, and have been going to the same schools since kindergarten. While you both get good grades, hang out with the same friends, and even have the same obsession with football, there is one key difference between the two of you – your friend’s parents are alcoholics.

risk factors for alcoholism

While staying at your friend’s house, you would see them finishing two to three bottles of wine per evening and then passing out on the couch. Honestly, it just helped reaffirm that you guys never wanted to be that way. As you both grow up and head to different colleges, your friend seems to lose touch. Even with texting and calling almost every day, he stops responding. You decide to visit home and see if he is at his parents’ house. When he opens the door, you can’t believe your eyes.

Your friend is disheveled, his shirt stained with sweat, and he has a bottle of whiskey in his hand. His eyes are bloodshot and the circles under his eyes are darker than the night sky. You hear his parents yelling in the background. With a knowing look, your friend shrugs his shoulders and shuts the door. All that time ago, you both said you were going to be different, but he chose his parents’ path anyway. Why?

In Florida, over 1.5 million college students have dropped out at one point or another. Most of this is attributed to financial strain, and many turned to alcohol to help handle the stress of budgeting and paying for school. But are there other risk factors for this kind of alcohol use? At Clean Recovery Centers, we understand that life can throw curveballs and financial situations can be tough to manage, especially in the college years. It is understandable that many turn to alcohol, but this ends up creating even more mental stress. Our program addresses both alcohol use disorders and mental health conditions simultaneously, so you can get the help you need all in one place. How do you know if you or someone you care about have risk factors for alcoholism? Let’s explore this further.

Risk Factors for Alcoholism

A risk factor is a characteristic that can be biological, cultural, psychological, familial, or communal that puts the person at higher risk of developing certain negative outcomes. In the case of alcoholism, there are many factors that can affect if a person is at higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. These can include:

  • Family members with alcohol or substance use disorder
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Chaotic home life
  • Living in poverty or being homeless
  • Childhood adversity such as moving a lot
  • Managing an undiagnosed mental health condition
  • Genetic predisposition to risky behaviors

How Family History Impacts Alcoholism Risk

vulnerability to alcohol abuse signsMany will say that alcoholism is genetic, and while there is some truth behind that, there is no gene for any form of addiction. However, you can have genetic predispositions to certain behaviors, such as risk-taking behavior. This means you will be more likely to try new and adventurous activities with less fear of danger than most. When this behavior is acted upon with substances such as alcohol, you are more likely to engage in binge drinking due to this fearlessness.

Family history does play a role in alcoholism developing in the next generations. When a child is raised in an environment where parents and/or grandparents are always drinking, they are more likely to drink as they get older. Some may start drinking in their teen years while others wait until their 20s. They are more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder as that is the only environment they know. However, the opposite can also happen. Seeing immediate family members drinking all the time can create a negative relationship with alcohol for the child. They will never pick up a drink because they do not want to be associated with the behaviors of their family members.

The Alcoholism Risk Factors Cause by Peer Pressure and Influence

Tweens and teens have a lot of pressure put on them today – from grades and activities to appearance and social media presence. On top of that, when they do not have a lot of friends, it is easy to give in to peer pressure. While sometimes this is harmless, some teens feel pressured to drink alcohol in the hopes of fitting in. At first, it may seem to help them feel relaxed and cool. Over time, alcohol will actually increase anxiety, leading to fallouts with friends and family. Feeling guilty after drinking can increase depression and cause animosity toward the friends who pressured the teen into drinking in the first place.

The Impact Underage Drinking Has on Alcoholism

Drinking alcohol at a young age has a detrimental effect on brain development. Learning pathways are being created within the brain, and alcohol can interfere with their development and also create new pathways. This can affect learning capabilities and lead to alcoholism later in life.

In Florida, there is a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking. Minors who have a BAC of as little as .02% can face legal troubles, such as being charged with a DUI. This can affect the future of the minor and have consequences when it comes to applying for colleges or trying to find a job.

Overcoming Risk Factors For Alcoholism

Not everyone who has some or all of the risk factors for alcoholism will end up drinking in excess. For those who find themselves in the grasp of an alcohol use disorder, finding treatment is the best option to overcome it. Treatment facilities are capable of addressing the different factors that led to your alcohol use disorder, and are able to work with you to figure out the best options for overcoming them. Whether your family members lived with alcoholism, you were peer pressured to drink, or you were brought up in chaos, recovery from alcohol use disorder is always possible for those who want it.

If you or someone you love is managing an alcohol use disorder, the cycle can be broken today. Clean Recovery Centers is here to help you figure out what the root causes of your drinking are, and work with you to find better ways to cope with them. We have a rapid-resolution therapist onsite at each of our locations to address and work through past traumas. Whether you have been drinking for 2 years or 25 years, our compassionate staff is ready to help you get clean, live clean, and stay clean. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.


What are the 5 most common causes of alcoholism?

Five of the most common causes of alcoholism include a stressful environment, negative mental health, family influence, drinking at a young age, and experiencing trauma.

What risk is most likely to occur in alcoholics?

Engaging in high-risk behavior such as reckless driving and unprotected sex is likely to occur in alcoholics.

What are the risk factors for alcoholism and drug abuse?

Common risk factors for alcoholism or drug use include family history, growing up in a chaotic or stressful environment, undiagnosed mental health conditions such as depression, history of trauma, and pressure from friends or family.

What increases the risk for alcohol use disorder?

Drinking at a young age increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life. This is due to the brain still learning pathways, and alcohol can affect the learning process and create new pathways.




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