Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of getting a disease or health problem. A person can have AUD with or without the risks below. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.

AUD is most common in men and people who are 18 to 24 years of age. Other things that may raise the risk are:

Early Alcohol Use

People who used alcohol when they were children or teens are more likely to get AUD when they are an adult.

Family History

AUD tends to run in families. A person who has parents, siblings, or children with AUD are at higher risk for getting it themselves.


Genetic factors have been linked to AUD. This includes how the body processes and responds to alcohol.

Parental Factors

Teens who have parents with an approving attitude towards alcohol are more likely to be at risk.



Alcohol use disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/alcohol-use-disorder. Accessed September 3, 2020.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/alcohol-withdrawal-syndrome. Accessed September 3, 2020.
Day E, Copello A, Hull M. Assessment and management of alcohol use disorders. BMJ. 2015 Feb 19;350:h715.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 2/19/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.