Home Mental Health & Well-Being The Onset of Alcoholism: Is It Nature or Nurture?

The Onset of Alcoholism: Is It Nature or Nurture?

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The nature or nurture question has been a theme of discussion for almost every aspect of a human being. Was that behaviour, illness, or attribute due to genetics, or did the person learn or pick up the issue? Even alcoholism raises this all too common question. Was it nature or nurture that prompted the illness? The answer is probably both.

Nature or nurture?

The nature or nurture question is always at the basis of finding a proper treatment for alcoholism. Fortunately, a residential treatment center in austin can assist people with this issue. These facilities help individuals find methods for overcoming alcoholism regardless of the cause.

If siding with the nature aspect of alcoholism, one would have to believe that only those with the specific gene would ever be an alcoholic. This thought also suggests that a person with that gene would instantly become an alcoholic upon their first drink. Of course, this is not the case.

If considering the nurture aspect, then it would only go to reason that a person who was raised without being influenced by alcohol would not ever become an alcoholic. However, this is not the case either. In fact, it is often a combination of both nature and nurture that creates the issue.

Genetic predisposition

There is no specific gene that causes a person to become an alcoholic. However, there are genes and other genetic factors that may make a person more prone to addictive behaviors. Those with close family members who suffer from alcoholism are much more likely to become alcoholics themselves.

Although this might suggest a possible environmental or nurture aspect to alcoholism, studies have shown that genetics are a strong indication of alcoholism. Children of alcoholics that were raised by other caregivers still had a higher risk of alcoholism than those without the genetic predisposition.

Mental illness

Another factor that could be considered in the nature side of the argument is mental illness. Those who suffer from mental illness are also more likely to become alcoholics than the general population. Mental illness has a strong hereditary link.

It could also be considered on the nurture side as well since the problem is often due to a lack of proper treatment for the mental illness. If these individuals received the care they needed, alcoholism may not have become a problem.

Socioeconomic status

Being poor and living in poor conditions can also be a major environmental factor in alcoholism. It can be difficult to get out of those conditions and alcohol tends to be a cheap escape for these individuals. Those from poor backgrounds have an increased chance of becoming alcoholics.

Peer pressure

Being around peers who drink often can influence an individual to begin drinking as well. College students are a big part of this environmental factor. Many students find the drinking culture around campus enticing. There is also a push to drink to excess. College can often be the start of alcoholism.

History of trauma

Another point on the nurture side of the argument is trauma and abuse. Those who have faced serious traumas or experienced abuse during their lives are also at a higher risk of alcoholism. Many people who suffer from these issues are unable or unwilling to seek help or even discuss the problems with others. These individuals may turn to alcohol to suppress past pain.

There are a variety of reasons that may contribute to alcoholism. The important thing is to understand the risks and take action to prevent alcoholism. If alcoholism is already a problem, there is treatment available.


Samantha Greene, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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