Various causes for alcohol addiction

One person is more susceptible to an addiction than another. It has to do with a combination of many factors, such as: predisposition, psychological factors and social factors. What starts with a nice drink in the evening before going to bed can lead to habituation, after which at a certain point you can no longer do without alcohol. Other factors may also play a role, such as depression, behavior and natural tolerance of alcohol. What are the causes of becoming addicted to alcohol?


One person can drink alcohol regularly without becoming addicted, while another is much more addictive and soon cannot live without it. Addiction is due to many factors of a physical and/or mental nature, such as addiction sensitivity, behavior, psychological and social factors. If one or both of your parents are alcoholics, there is a greater chance that you will become one too. Genetic factors may play a small role, but the majority of dependence is caused by your environment and personal factors. Even if the mother drank during pregnancy, the child is more likely to develop alcohol problems later.

Can tolerate alcohol well

There are people who are not easily affected by alcohol and can easily drink a lot. They will be at greater risk of becoming addicted because they have more positive than negative experiences. They experience positive effects of drinking due to the euphoric feeling that alcohol gives. It may numb an unpleasant feeling and they will hardly suffer from a hangover. Some alcohol addicts do suffer from negative effects, but take it for granted.


There’s nothing wrong with drinking some alcohol every now and then. In itself, drinking one glass of wine daily is not harmful, but drinking alcohol daily can lead to habituation. The moment you don’t do it, you miss it and you feel the need to have a drink. It can quickly lead to addiction, causing you to drink more and more. It is therefore good not to drink alcohol a few days a week, so that it does not become a habit.

Psychological factors

Many causes of drinking problems arise from psychological factors. For example, someone may have positive expectations from having a drink. Some people think they need it to relax or to be more sociable. The most important psychological factors are listed below:


Feeling depressed is a major cause of developing alcohol problems, especially in women. Drinking makes you under the influence, which allows you to put your problems aside for a while. It makes you feel good, which increases the risk of addiction. When you are sober, your feelings of depression will only increase. This makes it increasingly difficult not to drink.


People who suffer from panic attacks or social phobia are at greater risk. They often use alcohol as a means to feel less anxious. They then feel less tense around other people and can handle the situation better.

Childhood traumas

People who have experienced something serious in the past such as abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or have parents with an (alcohol) addiction are more likely to develop alcohol problems.


Long-term stress from all kinds of causes, for example high work pressure, protracted conflicts, an unpleasant event or relationship problems, can increase the risk of alcohol dependence. In this way, problems are forgotten for a while or can be tolerated better.

Social factors

Some people simply find it more pleasant to sit at the table with a glass of wine. They often received it from home and it is done regularly in their environment: it is the most normal thing in the world. How you dealt with alcohol in your youth largely determines how you deal with it later. Young people in particular tend to seek excitement and experiment with drinking. During parties it is cool and you are persuaded to join in drinking. Sometimes they do it because they want to be rebellious or are impulsive.

Easily available

Unlike many other addictive substances, alcohol is readily available. You can just buy it in the supermarket and it is very tempting for someone who has difficulty determining their own limits. People living in urban areas are more tempted to purchase alcohol. Alcohol abuse is a risk factor, especially among unemployed men. Young people are an easy target group for alcohol abuse if a drink is heavily advertised.

Is the addiction a personal choice?

An addiction is not directly a person’s choice, but you can make a choice about whether or not to drink alcohol and also about the amount. If you drink to feel better or to forget something, you should ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. These are choices that are made before someone becomes addicted. This is sometimes made faster in case of biological, psychological or social factors. You could also choose another way to solve your problems.

Risk groups

In general, men are more susceptible to alcohol addiction than women. According to CBS figures, even 40 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 24 are heavy drinkers. Especially among male students, excessive alcohol drinking often plays a role in social pressure, otherwise they might not belong. Compared to less educated women, highly educated women are more likely to have alcohol problems. People who are single are more likely to become addicted than people who have a partner. Between 80 and 95 percent of alcoholics are tobacco smokers, probably due to their susceptibility to addiction.

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