How Do People Become Alcoholics?

How Do People Become Alcoholics?

Alcoholism does not just happen to someone, it occurs over a period of time. It may start in high school, having a few drinks with friends or seem like the ‘cool’ thing to do. It may be hidden from loved ones who are not aware how out of control the drinking has gotten. In fact, an individual with addiction may not realize it him or herself as to how drinking habits have gone off the rails. Learn more about how people become alcoholics and where to seek help.

Risk Factors

Alcohol is a drug which blocks out emotional pain. For this reason, it is a draw for many young people who find the confusion of feelings, hormones and pressure to deal with life too much. Stephen King, famous author, was fueled by fears and wrote those into his novels. Following a dysfunctional childhood and abandonment by his father, he began drinking which crept into his writing. Unresolved childhood trauma pushes many people to drink, not necessarily everyone. The more a person drinks to hide from the pain, the more insidious the alcoholism grows until it spirals out of control.

Responsibility of Genes

Research demonstrates genes are responsible for nearly half the risk of alcoholism. Genes alone do not determine whether a person becomes an alcoholic but environmental factors including gene and environmental interactions account for the remainder of the risk. Some things to keep in mind regarding genes and alcoholism include:

Alcoholism is in your genes so a stronger chance of becoming dependent may exist

If one or both parents modeled alcohol use as a coping mechanism, it may be passed down through environmental cues

If childhood trauma is unresolved, alcohol may be used to mask the pain

Where to Seek Help

Some of the following tips may be helpful when looking to seek help for addiction to alcohol.

Take a self-assessment test

If a drinking problem is suspected, it may be helpful to go online and look up a self-test. It is not the only way to predict an issue but can be a good starting point to seeking help.

Seek support

If the test leans towards an issue, consider going to an A.A. meeting, SMART Recovery or other similar group for alcoholics that can help build community. Try a few meetings before making a decision on what feels right.

Seek professional help

A therapist or counselor can be of help in this area. It is a good place to start by looking online for local counselors who help with addiction to alcohol.

Find a treatment center

A treatment center that provides support can also look into possible mental health conditions underlying the diagnosis of alcoholism which may provide additional support. While this route is not for everyone, others find it the best option to heal.

Blueprints is committed to supporting individuals with alcoholism and other addictions. If you suspect yourself or someone you love is struggling, call us. We are here to help you find the best resources and support available to deal with addiction.


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