Overcoming Addiction: 5 Causes of Alcohol Abuse and How Therapy can Help

In the not-too-distant past, alcohol addiction was a taboo subject. Thankfully, things have changed for the better, and people caught in its grip can emerge from the closet and seek the necessary help. But before you can recover, the first step is pinpointing the root cause.

To that end, today, let’s examine five causes of alcohol abuse and how therapy can help you work through them.

5 Causes of Alcohol Abuse

Substance abuse is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Life is complex, and everyone’s story is different. However, alcohol use disorder and problem drinking are often related to one of five issues: genetics, health conditions, social factors, trauma, and stress.

1. Genetics

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people with a close relative or parent who struggles with addiction issues are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder. Some studies put the likelihood as high as 50%. However, genes alone don’t dictate an individual’s substance abuse struggles. Environment and trauma are also contributing factors.

2. Mental and Physical Health Conditions

Instead of seeking professional help, many people will use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. It’s a vicious cycle because substance abuse doesn’t solve problems; it exacerbates them. People with bipolar disorder and depression are particularly vulnerable.

3. Social Factors

The NIAA reports that people who begin drinking before they’re 15 years old are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol as adults. Binge drinking, peer pressure, and lack of familial support are also social factors that also play a role.

4. History of Trauma

Trauma affects our propensity for AUD. Everything from childhood abuse to bullying to a horrific car accident can lead people down the path of disordered drinking.

5. Stress

Never underestimate the insidious power of stress. According to the American Psychological Association, stress has become a national health crisis. Not only does it erode our psychiatric and physical health, but it can be a trigger that causes people to reach for the bottle.

Therapy Can Help You Overcome Substance Abuse

A Turkish proverb advises: No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back — and addiction therapy can support you on your return. A counselor can help determine the whys, whats, and hows of your situation and develop a tailor-made toolbox of solutions to get you back on the right track.

Facing life’s challenges isn’t easy, but with the help of a therapist, the journey is much more manageable.

If you need counseling for alcohol abuse, reach out to Lisa Rogers MA, LPC, LMFT. Lisa Rogers is a NYC based therapist but offers virtual counseling options in selected licensed locations (New York, New Jersey, Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Vermont). Virtual counseling also available in selected international locations (Japan and the United Arab Emirates).