Medical science has yet to identify the the exact cause of alcohol dependence, but research suggest that genetic, psychological, and social factors influence its development. Studies show that alcoholism runs in families - alcoholics are six times more likely than nonalcoholic to have blood relatives who are alcohol dependent. Researchers have long pondered whether these familial patterns result from gentics or from a common home environment, which oftern includes alcoholic parents. Conduct disorders and other childhood disorders increase risk of alcohol related disorders in adult.
Psychoanalytic theory points to people with harsh superego and self-punitive turn to alcohol to diminish unconsious stress.