Surprising Childhood Factors that Lead to Alcohol Dependency

Drug and alcohol treatment requires a comprehensive understanding of childhood development. To keep your teens out of trouble, in school and away from substances, you will, too. Drug and alcohol treatment centers have a lot to say about alcohol addiction in adolescents. While alcoholism can be hereditary, a few factors presented in childhood can certainly sway one’s future.


Above all, childhood abuse seems to be a determining cause of alcoholism in later life. Similarly, living with parents who are either dependent on alcohol or utilize alcohol to deal with stress can increase one’s odds. A few surprising factors are at play, however, and each can contribute to an unhealthy—or even dangerous—future. Check them out below.


That’s right: boredom. This isn’t run-of-the-mill, day-to-day boredom, however. Children who’re left alone often, and who must keep themselves constantly occupied, may become psychologically dependent on excitement in any form. Drug and alcohol treatment centers believe that, over time, this mentality can manifest in addiction. Teens who are left alone often may similarly associate with like-minded individuals. While bonding is healthy, it can be unhealthy if alcohol becomes a centralized friendship resource.

Alcohol Advertisements

While mainstream media shifts alcohol advertisements to be appealing to adults, studies reveal their surprising influence on young minds. Fortunately, a parent’s direction to not drink seems to lessen the impact. Studies can’t prove whether these directions can “cancel out” the negative impacts of alcohol advertisement, but they certainly point to the importance of a healthy upbringing.

A constant need for instant gratification, too, is at play. Today’s children are exposed to Facebook, internet advertisements, smartphone access and one-click-relief lifestyles. In some ways, the advertising world’s capitalization on one’s need for instant gratification might be prompting a psychological “want” to try advertised goods. It’s even possible this advertising workaround has broken through the barrier of age-based marketing—leaving kids exposed.

Digital Misinformation

Misinformation will always create environments capable of enabling addiction. That said, the same “instant access” mindset above may further lifestyles of abuse. While the internet is certainly packed with healthy information, it also enforces the spread of misinformation. Social media websites, like Facebook, Reddit, and Tumblr may accidentally be promoting the consumption of alcohol from a young age. While children can do their own research, now, misinformation—and a lot of it—can be incredibly damaging.

A Lack of Responsibility

In some cases, giving your child chores may help them evade alcohol abuse. Children classified as “undercontrolled” at age three, by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, were twice as likely to be diagnosed with an alcohol addiction by age 21. Additionally, children who’re unnaturally aggressive between ages five and 10 carried increased risks.

While too much control can be abusive, the right amount of taught discipline can help a child circumnavigate the dangerous waters of substance abuse. Addiction treatment centers often question suffering individuals about their childhoods, for this reason.

Alcoholic Parents

The age-old mantra of: “children of drinkers will drink” is supported by a lot of evidence. In fact, children of alcoholic parents are more likely to internalize the precursors of alcoholism before they reach adolescence. Prevention programs often serve to rework the many habits formed in younger years. Unfortunately, children who encounter alcoholic parents repeatedly face an incredibly higher risk than most.

A Lack of Self-Esteem

Children who display a lack of self-esteem are psychologically at risk, later in life. Alcohol, which releases dopamine, lowers one’s inhibitions. It can be a reprieve from societal expectations, giving the drinker an excuse to be wild, engage risky behavior or indulge in self-confidence. In a lot of ways, alcohol’s main appeal is a social one. By drinking, an adolescent has an “excuse” to act strange, over-loving or even angry.

It’s important to engage your child as much as possible. Additionally, it’s important to express the dangers of drinking at a younger age. Studies show that such approaches work to curb alcohol consumption, prevent binge drinking and combat alcoholism in late life. As a parent, an older sibling or a relative, it’s your responsibility to foster good habits. Contact a mental health provider today if you or a loved one expresses the symptoms of alcohol addiction.