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What causes alcoholism?

Many things cause alcoholism, including:
  • genetics
  • a person’s upbringing
  • social environment
  • emotional health
A family history of alcoholism makes a person more likely to develop drinking problems. Socializing with many heavy drinkers increases the risk of the habit. Some health conditions make a person more likely to use alcohol to self-medicate, including:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • bipolar disorder
For some people, a personal life crisis (such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, breakup or divorce) can turn an alcohol abuse habit into alcoholism. Others drink more alcohol as their tolerance to it increases. The road to alcoholism might be accelerated in those who binge drink or drink every day.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.