Why Do Some People Become Alcoholics?

Alcoholism is commonly misunderstood, but is also a very serious issue all across the globe. What causes some people to become alcoholics and not others? Trace explains what it means to be an addict, and the issue has a strong root in the brain.

Read More:
How Addiction Works
"Stories about how addiction has ruined lives are common in our society today."

Why Do Some People Become Alcoholics but Not Others? Blame the Brain
"Most of the research done on alcohol addiction so far has focused on the rewarding effects of alcohol. It offers euphoria, boosts mood if someone is feeling depressed, and soothes fear if someone is feeling anxious."

Genetic Approaches to Addiction: Genes and alcohol
"Alcohol use disorders (AUD), including dependence and abuse, are common and etiologically complex diseases with a 12-month prevalence of 8.6% in the United States."

The Myth of Drug-Induced Addiction
"Most Canadians believe that certain drugs cause catastrophic addictions in people who use them. This conventional belief is reflected in such familiar phrases as 'crack cocaine is instantly addictive' or 'heroin is so good, don't even try it once'."

How Addiction Hijacks The Brain
"The word 'addiction' is derived from a Latin term for 'enslaved by' or 'bound to.' Anyone who has struggled to overcome an addiction — or has tried to help someone else to do so — understands why."

Watch More:
Can Animals Be Alcoholics?
TestTube Wild Card
Why We Get the Spins


DNews is dedicated to satisfying your curiosity and to bringing you mind-bending stories & perspectives you won't find anywhere else! New videos twice daily.

Watch More DNews on TestTube

Subscribe now!

DNews on Twitter

Trace Dominguez on Twitter

Tara Long on Twitter

Laci Green on Twitter

DNews on Facebook

DNews on Google+

Discovery News

Download the TestTube App:

Views: 132427
Runtime: 3:2
Comments: 685

Tags for this video:

Find more videos in the: "28"
Uploaded by:
See more videos uploaded by


Author Adrian Lee ( ago)
Addiction is a Pandora's Box that you don't even know you've opened. Once you've opened it it's very hard to close. I used alcohol and drugs for years. Affected my life in negative ways come to find out there's a reason why I did all that stuff. Went to AA to stop then I found out a few things. I took care of what was really making me drink and use and life got better. Went through the steps and things went through the roof. But! I found out that the human condition is a mess with dysfunction and one does not have to be an addict or alcoholic. Addiction is just part of the problem. With the same mind, we created war, nuclear weapons, corruption, and more recently absurd presidential elections.

Author Hugh Mungus ( ago)
I'm watching this while killing a bottle of vodka.

Author freezecheeze ( ago)
I was definitely 100% an alcohol and I am only 19.
I was so lonely and had an eating disorder and depressed with no friends at all.
I almost lost my job and dropped out of school.
Then I turned to hard drugs.
Now I recovered my eating disorder, have friends, back at school, only drink at parties or one after a long day at work.
I believe addicts are just sick because they're lonely, depressed, etc.
they're not criminals, all they need is help

Author Blue Damil ( ago)
Just drank 3 hurricane High gravity yep Im a alcoholic sad but true

Author I swear i will subscribe to this guy ( ago)
im supposed to study

Author Clayton Bigsby ( ago)
i wake up with scotch.

drink scotch while at work.

and drink scotch before bed.

i always carry a flask

Author Bird Scott ( ago)
thanks for helping me hate myself even more =D

Author Zatcho Atcho ( ago)
Who else carrys a hipflask?

Author Victorsguitarsandtravel ( ago)
That's funny I'm drinking on a Tuesday morning here. Started on a small stone ruination and 2 coronas with lime and salt.

Author Sinaloa ( ago)
I get happy when I drink

Author Gustav Hjelmqvist ( ago)
The rat experiment is one rat lonely in a cage. Once the rat is placed into another cage with other rats with all the things a rat wishes then the rat usually stop using drugs, according to Bruce Alexander. To find out more, the keywords for a research is "Rat park".

Author xxuncexx ( ago)
I'm addicted to trying to get addicted...

Author fred funk ( ago)
i get fucked up drinking beers like right now and tomorrow

Author Jeremy Remele ( ago)
No addiction crew right here..

Author TheLulzbatRises ( ago)
Alcohol made go trough past some of the worst times in my life.

Thank you alcohol.

Author Not Sure ( ago)
I want a beer

Author pizzadilla 420 ( ago)
Why are you smiling

Author Jordan Ludovina ( ago)
my dad john ludovina blames it on stuff that happened 25 years ago not even kidding you can ask my brothers

Author bubbanderson ( ago)
OK some of this is right but there are more factors going on in the brain pathways but it's not just dopamine. There are about 5 other reward mechanisms going on. In my case it's the seratonin system that's screwed up.

I take SSNRi antidepressants and they release a steady dose of seratonin that keeps the balance just right in my brain and a calm, happiness ensues. In the alcoholic brain when you take a drink seratonin is released providing the same sort of happiness BUT more seratonin receptors become active and want more ... so we pour the stuff down our necks to keep them happy.

The root of this is hereditary and has been known so since 1750. In most people the response is that they can have a couple of drinks, feel mellow and stop. Us alkies unfortunately can't and that's where (in my case) the combination of SSNRi drugs and AA is vital.

Modern science has identified some of the genes responsible for alcoholism so progress is happening ... but in the meantime I'm happy to hang out with my mates at AA.

Author stoned2THAbone yup ( ago)
Alcohol is cool n all but is dangerous I'm young so I do my fair share of partying and drinking pretty sure some of you can relate lol.. I hope I don't go down the road of being an alcoholic That sounds like a miserable life to live just gotta keep my limits

Author Joshi The Yoshi ( ago)
D? Dick News?

Author Saym smith ( ago)
i was curious if the effects of love could help these addicts. in my observation giving someone love, care and compassion and all your time i have seen amazing improvements. but sadly my first observation has taken the dark road, as soon as i left....can somebody explain this to me...? observations also meaning my ex and my current relationship..

Author nrw andromedav ( ago)
im the lowest alcoholic you can know I drink every day and morning me....fuck ..

Author Gr8Success ( ago)
Alcoholics  destroy  the ppl around them  with their ignorance,incompetence, lack of responsibility.They always try to victimize themselves and  throw guilt on their  children and wife.They in their head believe they don't have any problem most of them being functional alcoholics during  first part of the day .They usually drink daily and if they don't they become more aggressive  verbal or physical .The problem in general are not the alcoholics because everyone is free to do whatever they wish with their life  the problem is when someone else depends on an alcoholic and lack of alternatives for children of an alcoholic.Alcoholics dont deserve empathy or respect and for those who are in the situation of having to tolerate an alcoholic try to get financial independent  leave the alcoholic and never look back.

Author Nicholas Brown ( ago)
I never can understand what this guy is saying - where's the chicks at?  All I see is a rapist hairstyle - he's tryin the stubble - trying to be more mescaline, when in reality he's a little girl.  he's like that writer who never quite made it because of his alcoholism accept in his case, he didn't even need the alcohol - it's just genetic that he looks like he drives a full size van with no back windows and on the sides of it, it says free candy.  if you see this guy at your local park, beat his ass lmao

Author Paulinder Singh ( ago)
Fuck your retard news! drunk for life!

Author zadose ( ago)
I'm addicted to eating....

Author The Discovery House™ ( ago)
People who have never had an addiction don't understand how hard it can be. If you or a loved one needs help with drug or alcohol addiction call 1-877-749-7517 call today don't wait until it’s too late where there is life there is hope peace and blessings you’re not alone!

Author Kathleen Williams ( ago)
Why do we have to study things that are so blatantly obvious.

Author S McC ( ago)
mmm Had 3 uncles that were alcoholics 1 tore his family apart 1 is very sick and the other is deceased, all leaving families in the wake :/ ... My genetics are telling me bottoms up the answers gotta be in here somewhere ..

Author Orlenda Orlendagomes ( ago)
im 20 years old and I became alcoholic . I don't know how to stayout of it. Everytime I drink i go crazy shit :(

Author crabsinthebucket ( ago)
What about this is helpful?

Author Владимир Ленин ( ago)
Morning drinking usually means sorrow sad drinking as a failure that's why many Russian men become alcoholics ones USSR collapsed and Irish drink because of their loss to English empire

Author Ryan Purcell ( ago)
I struggled with destructive drinking for years. What changed it all around was 2 ceremonies with San Pedro cactus. It allowed me to reset my life. The most significant difference between my sobriety after the cactus ceremonies and my sobriety after traditional methods is I no longer have any urges. I actually feel free.

Author David C. ( ago)
When I was young, my daddy let me try out some beer.  I tasted it.  I began scratching my tongue to get rid of the disgusting taste.

Author GOOD SUCC ( ago)
Fuck, I can't live without nicotine. Why did I even start. 

Author WhatUwant? ( ago)
When stoners say weed isn't addictive are true stoners XD. weed can be addictive varies by brain

Author Robbie Weston ( ago)
i been drinking for 37 ys and finding is very difficult to stop can any one pleasr help

Author Matt Stocks ( ago)
I think it's because non alcoholics don't actually get much of a buzz of alcohol, it's more placebo. Alcoholics like myself, get a cocaine like rush of intense euphoria and relaxation when they drink. I never drank to drown my sorrows, I drank cos it made feel fucking awesome - I was always a naturally happy guy but alcohol took this to another level entirely. Other people I know say that alcohol makes them feel quite good but not euphoric. For me it's euphoric. For you non alcoholics it's 'meh'

Author Shannon Carroll ( ago)
I don't think knowing you are predisposed for addiction effects a person's decision making necessarily. I am predisposed and I still drink, so I don't think people who are predisposed will necessarily refrain.

Author Matt Stocks ( ago)
Alcoholics process alcohol much faster than other people and also experience greater stimulation of the dopamine system in the brain when they drink. This means th get a better high than normal people from alcohol but also develop tolerance much faster and eventually withdrawal symptoms which makes them drink more because alcohol withdrawal is one of the most uncomfortable feelings one can have. That's why. No mystery to it really, fairly simple stuff.

Author Lisa Craig ( ago)
I'm sorry but could you please speak English! To much tech talk

Author craqqer ( ago)
I tried marijuana once. I turned into a homosexual and almost died. It also made me want to have premarital sex. Marijuana, not even once

Author rockshot100 ( ago)
There are different kinds of addicts.  There are different kinds of alcoholics, some people just get into the habit of drinking everyday.

Author Daryl Rosenberg ( ago)
Funny thing is, all the comments below are of non-drug addicts.   Lets hear from the drug addicts.  Just a bunch of ignorant people that have opinions that are not backed by personal experience. 

Author Calico Cat ( ago)
I'm 18 in college and I have a drinking problem. I start and I can't seem to stop unless my friends hide all the alcohol and even if I black out, the next day I want to do it again.

Author Make Jiller ( ago)
nice shirt :D

Author Markus Brorson ( ago)
People who cannot overpower their  brain has no will power.

Author LuiKang043 ( ago)
This turned into an incentive to study for my Neuropharmacology revision! :D

Author spitzbubezumquadrat ( ago)
cause alcohol is awesum

Author SamuraiBatgirl ( ago)
I call bullshit on the willpower thing. When I say this, I'm not saying it's ONLY about willpower, but that is a factor. Obviously it's different for different people. Someone mad dad grew up with became an alcoholic. One day he simply decided it was time to stop. Again, not everyone can do this. All I'm saying is that willpower -is- involved.

Author pivotrocker8 ( ago)
very interesting oh and blackhawks bitch

Author steb boy ( ago)
Idk i literally have trouble getting addicted to anything. I've actually tried. I love gambling but I always know when to stop, I love to drink but I can't do it often. I can't smoke, i tried to start smoking to see why people willingly do that shit but after a dozen i couldn't smoke another; cigarettes make me physically sick now.

Opiates have 0 effect on me, I've done heroin, I've done oxys + more and I'll never do them again because I get nothing from it, no high no withdrawals no nothing.

LSD hardly effects me even in larger high quality doses, weed no matter how much i smoke gives me a light head buzz and all of the side effects and that's it. I'd like to try MDMA to see if that will have an effect but the way my body reacts to things that are bad for me is peculiar, however I consider this an incredibly fortunate condition.

Sometimes I imagine how much some addicts must wish they could get off the drugs and stop being addicted and I'll always be glad that I never get the urge or cravings that they do. Yeah I'd say I'm pretty lucky.

Author Robert Wallace ( ago)
I'm sober 4 months whoo whoo life is so look much better I have money now what a concept

Author ishouldgetalif3 ( ago)
but some people drink to forget. could be a relationship gone bad, regret, bad childhood, etc etc.

Author Lucid Dream ( ago)
i have a fart addiction 

Author Silentbaws ( ago)
I know someone addicted to self harm

Author InMaTeofDeath ( ago)
My grandmother was from Ireland, grandfather got diabetes from alcoholism, and the rest of that side of the family LOVES drinking.  I'm 24 and I can count the number of times i've been drunk on my hands,  i don't mind the feeling of being drunk but the taste and the after effects are weird for me.  Like how if I'm drunk its impossible for me to sleep, its pretty shitty when after a party you're lying there awake while everyone else is passed out, there was one time i couldn't sleep for a day and a half after drinking.  

So alcohol addiction is off the table i think, i smoked cigarettes starting at 16 socially, while i can't say i ever smoked A LOT of them in a short amount of time i would have thought i would have felt some addiction to them at some point but it never happened.  Like now i have a pack on my dresser that's half gone and has been there for over 6 months.  The only thing I've done consistently is smoke pot but even that i wouldn't even call a psychological addiction,(i say psychological since as far as i know you can't be physically addicted)  I'll buy a quarter or half an ounce, be stoned for a week or two then not buy more for at least a month, most of the time a lot longer than that.   The only time I can ever say i was addicted to something was when i had a prescription for adderall in high school, getting taken off that was horrible, felt like i was dying or something lol.

I guess the point is, addiction is weird, seems like sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, I've never tried any heavy addictive drugs due to not wanting to risk it but still I'd be curious to see how it would effect me.

Author TrizollinTehWorld ( ago)
I'm addicted to sex :( my life sucks with all the intercourse..

Author Stephen Roberts ( ago)
i've got a friend with a vicodin addiction and the only real help i have been giving was letting her know she can call me anytime she feels like taking it and like she can ask for rides to na meetings, and letting her know how proud everyone is of her sobriety so far, she's 3 months sober after a few failed attempts

Author Thames Haldane ( ago)
you guys are all about science yet new zealand is not on your map...

Author William Thomas ( ago)
Devil;s negative hooks, though manly and big, pressure from peers, weak will, low pleasure temptation,body gets to need it,false appetite. Similar artificial needs to nicotine, drugs,excess food, orgasm, habit,stupid wrong thinking,to be accepted by foolish peers and wrong parental,adverts.,etc. example, "guidance"and maybe more!! Have I  missed anything? Vic/Bill.

Author SexIsNotForKids ( ago)
I'm addicted to marijuana

Author varilla111 ( ago)
My body hates alcohol, calls it garbage

Author FYTJ ( ago)
I have a few friends who have an alcohol problem. One of them in particular is really struggling with it. It's hard. I know it's even harder for them. But when they give in to their addiction they are just not themselves, you know? They would do anything to get drunk and sometimes the things they do are hurtful. A lot of our other friends couldn't take it anymore and have given them up. I just try to imagine what it must be like to have an addiction problem and no friends so I try to be there for them. But it's really hard to protect them from themselves and some times you just have to accept that you can't and that that's still not a reason to give them up. Accept them but don't give in to their addiction. Be there for them when they need someone to talk and don't judge them. That's your best chance to get through to them and maybe convince them to go to therapy.

Author MAXnBOOM max ( ago)
such a pointless video, if you had to watch this to figure out why some people become alcoholic your a bit dim, feel like these videos are aimed at children  

Author lizard lace ( ago)
self harm addiction.

Author Camel76 ( ago)
Not to worry. Once they are don't demonizing smokers, they will come after drinkers.

No more fun by 2030, unless people start standing up for their rights.

Author Bloodmoon209 ( ago)
I don't really like alcohol but one side of my family has a lot of alcoholics. I don't feel the buzz or anything fun and I hate the taste... it only affects me once I drink enough to black out so I don't drink, also doesn't help that I look 16 but really is 25 (I blame genetics for that one my mom looks 24 but is in her late 40s).

Author EDyrby ( ago)
It is willpower. if it wasn't then HOW THE FUCK CAN ANYONE EVER FUCKING STOP!?!? you choose to stop drinking, and therefore it is willpower. Yes It might be harder for some people, but that is just the way it is with everything in life.
I will never change my mind about this unless we are shown REAL proof. And I do not accept the "proof" we have been given so fare.
I am not saying that people who are alkoholic are bad people, I am only saying that their willpower sucks when it comes to drinking.
"Trace explains what it means to be an addict, and the issue has a strong root in the brain." - no shit sherlock, where the fucking else would it be? your thumb?

Author Btredwing ( ago)
Red wings

Author iamawakeatnite ( ago)
Yeah brain function, maybe choice or my reptilian brain wants to skull fuck me or legalize weed, im just sayin when I see rats and mice smokin joints then ill give a shit. Never seen a pothead act fucked up towards family or friends or anything.

Author David Snipes ( ago)
 Most alcoholics and Drug addicts used the substance in response to some crisis in their life. I drink every now and than, but I don't yearn for it and have self control. It's really something only responsible individuals should use.

Author MasterKaylock ( ago)
Soooo its still a matter of willpower. 

Author ToProForuGames ( ago)
Go wings

Author Eddy C ( ago)
"Why Do Some People Become Alcoholics?"
lots of reasons DNews. some people become alcoholics because they wanna get buzzed the legal way, or they have depression and drinking helps them "drown their sorrows" but if you we're in my shoes, you would be an alcoholic because you can't smoke weed anymore because of a bullshit drug test! fucking hate them so god damn much! i hope who ever invented drug tests is burning in hell right now, if not, then i would love to give him a sucker punch to the balls!

Author Jhon V. ( ago)
I've never quit anything in my life and I'm not about to start now, ALCOHOL killed my father and I'm gonna kill ALCOHOL....that's a bottle of JW BL BEARY is carrying in the picture, but safety's first so he wears his selt belt.

Author AFFLICTI0N ( ago)
Awesome Shirt

Author Salpeteroxid ( ago)
I love alcohol. It doesn't interfere with my work but I drink it when I feel I can do it without consequences... How about you guys?

Author Luc Smeets ( ago)
I have sex until my penis glows red, then I wait it out, and then I'm right back at it again... Call me Mr Rat

Author ZeroSumJ1 ( ago)
Love the hair, trace

Author Sawce ( ago)
Drunken Rat Fist!

Author Jason Kane ( ago)
I wanna see a rat addicted to JAck Daniels.
Imagine it xD

Author TheyCallMeNewb ( ago)
Overrides the limbic system, of course! Although i would be surprised were a very forward thinking brain, aware of the genetics and hormones at play, able to fall victim to rudimentary addiction.

Author TMBlackCat ( ago)
any tips on how to quit porn addiction?

Author ImagineMedia ( ago)
This video just explained for me how there are people who just don't pass out when they get really drunk like I do. I was always amazed that some people I know could just keep on drinking all night until morning. Must have a smaller lateral habenula

Author Nyxi ( ago)
my dad used to be an extreme alcoholic, cost him jobs, his wife, and me (until most recently) i dont know why bit over time he started getting heartburn from dirnking and now just doesnt wanna put up with the heartburn anymore so he just stopped drinking.

Author BEANZI3xTFMx ( ago)
your stock photo was a hamster, do you need help identifying your rodent stocks? cuz you get it wrong all the time

Author CaliDude1996 ( ago)
Bullshit, my grandpa was an alcoholic almost his entire life and one day he just woke up and said he was never going to drink again and he hasn't. Will Power

Author Markus Zukowski ( ago)
I got an alcoholic ad for this video. It was about an alcoholic in recovery

Author Sora Hjort ( ago)
Dad has been dealing with his chewing addition. He's been off of it for some years now, but he says he still gets the cravings. He chews a lot of gum to keep his mind off of it as much as possible.
The reason why he decided to stop, wasn't really because it was unhealthy, but because the price of chewing tobacco had increased too much to be a viable pleasure for him.

Author ajmcrobs ( ago)
What about those internal lies that come with addiction? "I am better at _____ when I'm high," or "people like me better." That was part of it for me. But can that be explained?

Author stinknus ( ago)
I've been addicted to pain pills in the past, I've been anorexic which is like addiction. I'm addicted to caffeine at the moment. The pain pills because a series of misfortune events, broken foot, then broken jaw. ending up in at least 6 months of continually use of pain pills. my doctors helped me gradually decrease my dosage. I still am deeply addicted to them, I know only one or two can get that addiction back in full swing.

There was a separate anorexic occasion than the broken jaw. I would only eat 1 or 2 meals often not even finish them. at the time I was attracted to the skinny emo boys and girls that were obviously anorexic, I wanted to look like them. it was my addiction I was only 125lbs I felt tired and sick all the time. My natural body build is fairly heavy and when I'm in shape I'm bulky despite wanting to be lean. I only gain weight when I exercise. right now I'm 180lbs and still gaining weight as I workout more and more You can't ignore your natural built body you have to make the most out of it  

Author NorwegianCrazyGuy ( ago)
Is there a video of that experiment? I REALY wanna se drunk rats!

Author SUBIN.spock ( ago)
can you even science bro??

Author radoscan ( ago)
Well, in the 20s they said that it was one's power of will that caused addictions. And, nowadays, I say the same thing. How could anyone disagree? I mean, that's just the beginning of all that which was explained by Trace.

Author AuraController ( ago)
Does this apply to activities as well? Such as in the case of watching too much TV or staying too long on the computer?

Author Vincent J. Newman ( ago)
I'm not an alcoholic.... i just collect empty bottles.... HICCC!!!!

Author Alternative EFG ( ago)
My father is a dying barely walking aggressive egocentric cruel alcoholic with no dignity left.
I hope such behavior is not mostly caused the genes.

Author VampJapgirl231 ( ago)
My Nana has been a alcoholic since before I was born and she has been sober for at least the last 21 years if not more... Yet she still looks at everyone who drinks as a potential alcoholic... Even at times like Christmas she gives me disapproving looks for having more than one glass of mulled wine (my personal favourite thing to consume at christmas) This has always confused me.. I don't understand why she presumes that second glass is going to send me or the rest of my family over the edge into dependency

Embed Video:


Search Video

Top Videos


Analyse website