There are many causes and risk factors that can contribute to someone becoming an alcoholic. It is not wholly on this person's shoulders, but can be a combination of several things such as genetics or depression. There is no one cause of alcoholism that says that someone will abuse alcohol, nor is there really any way of preventing the disease aside from complete abstinence.
If someone has a parent or parents that drank excessively, then there is a good chance that they too will abuse alcohol. Mainly because of the way that they were brought up they got used to having alcohol around, but also because of the genetics. Alcoholism has been directly linked to genetics and someone who falls into this category may have a harder time of abstaining from alcohol than others who abuse alcohol. Age can also play a contributing role in alcoholism. The sooner that someone starts drinking the more likely that they will become dependent upon it as they get older, leading to alcoholism. Men are also more likely to abuse alcohol than women are.
High levels of stress or depression over finances and/or relationships are also risk factors for people to become dependent upon alcohol. Drinking will allow these individuals to block out what is stressing them and allow them to ignore what needs their attention. Close friends or family members who drink heavily may also encourage you to start drinking, a sort of companionable drinking team being formed even if the alcohol does not affect them the way it does you. Adults with attention deficit disorders, or ADD, are also more prone to turn to alcohol and become dependent than those without the disorder.
Other risk factors that encourage drinking is the media. The way that drinking is portrayed in commercials, on TV and in film is often perceived as being glamorous and can lead individuals into drinking excessively to keep up with the cultural norm. Social drinking is also an enabler because it is very common for friends, co-workers and couples to go out for drinks to catch up and have a good time.
When it comes to alcoholism, there are many causes and risk factors that tempt or encourage an individual into drinking alcohol excessively. Genetics can lead to alcoholism just on the basis that it's in your genes; but there are also other factors that contribute to alcoholism that have nothing to do with genes. Age, depression and cultural norms all pose risks to individuals who drink and can encourage others to drink as well.