Alcoholism is determined by heredity and social environment. A variety of aspects contribute to the rising trend of alcoholism. Ethnic background, the surrounding environment and parental contributions are all important aspects when looking at the disease. .
Cultural background plays a large role in whether an individual is likely to develop alcoholism or not. For instance, Asians are at a higher rate of "flushing", which is when redness and increased blood flow enters the face and neck area and involves other symptoms of over drinking. This can happen after a very small amount of alcohol, and most often with person of Japanese and Chinese decent. As a result, Asians feel the effects of alcohol, and potentially, alcohol poisoning, much faster than other ethnic communities. This puts Asians at a less likely probability of becoming alcoholics. (www.alcoholism.about.com) .
A recent survey done in the U.S. looked at the alcohol consumption between Mexican immigrant women and second-generation Mexican women. The primary focus was on the change in drinking habits. The study found that of the emigrated Mexican women, only 25% drank once in the U.S. While looking at the first generation women, the percentage of those who drank was significantly higher, at 62%, in the study. (Grant, Mary, Alcoholism New Knowledge and New Response. Baltimore:University Park Press, 1996) This is as a result of the need for immigrants to conform to their new surroundings. Pressure it put on them to fit in with the social and new cultural norms. This places immigrants at a much higher risk of giving in to pressure they feel imposed on them as a result of them being an foreign country, where their native drinking habits, or lack thereof, may be different. Lack of knowledge and information on the effects of alcohol leads to increased alcoholism among immigrants and 1st generation Americans. (Stockwell, T., Journal of Studies on Alcohol, New York: Jon Wiley and Sons, 2001.