Why Is Alcohol Addictive? What Makes It Addictive?

You can get right back on the right track again very easily. Counseling is so important for those who wish to recover from alcoholism. The key is to understand why the alcohol addiction occurred. This why is alcohol addictive genetic difference might be why some individuals drink more frequently and more heavily than others. For those who abuse alcohol, their use of it is generally something that’s done recreationally.

Peer pressure can sway someone into drinking, which may lead to an addiction. Audra Franchini holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing & English.

why is alcohol addictive

In 2008, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a study on how genetics play a role in alcohol addiction. It found that genetic factors account for about 40 to 60 percent of people’s vulnerability to addiction. Since then, specific genes have been identified that contribute to alcohol abuse. These genes directly correlate with the development of the reward centers of the brain. Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence.

The Physical Factors

They usually think that they’re only abusing alcohol or drinking too much. Even when others point out to them that they think they could be alcoholics, they still can’t see it. People frequently confuse the terms alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction or dependence.

why is alcohol addictive

Other researchers claim the younger you are to try any addictive substance, including cigarettes or e-cigarettes, the more likely you are to become an addict. Just like anything else, the road to alcohol addiction is different for each person. Some people may be able to drink a few drinks and not think about alcohol again for weeks or months. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports over 15 million adults, and over 620,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 17, in the United States suffer from an alcohol abuse disorder. Alcohol addiction is a disease and requires medical help in order for you to move beyond it. Treatment for it can be highly effective for many people if help is sought soon enough. Through alcohol addiction rehab, it may be possible to minimize risks and improve the outcome as well as the chance for long-term sobriety.

With so many neurotransmitters being released, along with endorphins, it’s almost no wonder why alcohol is so addictive. Not only does alcohol Alcohol trick the brain into thinking that drunk is the normal way to be, alcohol releases several pleasure-inducing chemicals as well.

The Brain Gets Excited By Alcohol

The withdrawal period may last for a week or more, so if necessary, the treatment specialists will provide medications to ease pain and help keep the focus on getting better. Chronic drinkers develop a tolerance to alcoholic beverages, meaning they need to drink more and more to achieve the same effects. Over time, this leads to addiction, and the body experiences withdrawal symptoms if intoxicating drinks are not consumed regularly. The fact is that recovering from alcoholism is possible, but there are right and wrong ways to recover. Alcohol should never be stopped without professional support.

why is alcohol addictive

Long-term, heavy drinkers are likely to require medical supervision during the early days and even weeks of alcohol addiction treatment when detox is taking place. For those who are not heavy drinkers, or who do not suffer from extreme physical dependence on alcohol, inpatient detox in a medically supervised facility may not be necessary. These patients are often able to detox on an outpatient basis or in an alcohol treatment center that provides limited medical monitoring during this difficult time.

There are different forms of rehab that can be useful to different people. Take some time do you think about what you would do if you had the time. Then, allow yourself to recognize that you could make the time if you really wanted to. If you invested the time you supent drinking in passionate pursuits, you would be more fulfilled and less likely to drink.

Alcohol Treatment Programs

In addition, research indicates genetic factors also influence alcohol addiction. Lastly, there are many sociological factors that can contribute to alcoholism.

moderate drinking as up to two drinks a day for men and up to one drink a day for women. The recommendation is for men to drink no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks a week. For women, the drinking limits are no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the addictionresource.com helpline is a private and convenient solution. Our writers and reviewers are experienced professionals in medicine, addiction treatment, and healthcare. AddictionResource fact-checks all the information before publishing and uses only credible and trusted sources when citing any medical data.

  • For many working professionals in high-stress jobs, happy hour is a social norm and a way to unwind at the end of a busy day.
  • They can include cognitive-behavioral therapy , which aims to prevent relapse by understanding the factors that trigger alcohol abuse and how to handle those triggers when they arise.
  • Some people are at a greater risk of falling victim to alcohol addiction than others.
  • Prolonged or repeated alcohol abuse can change brain chemistry and cause alcohol addiction.
  • They believe their findings and study design could be steps toward developing an effective pharmaceutical therapy for alcohol addiction, a kind of treatment that has eluded researchers for years.
  • Constant stimulation of dopamine, as with consistent alcohol abuse, actually causes an overall decrease in dopamine.

A Dual Diagnosis is apparent when a patient has both alcohol addiction and a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other disorders. Your ongoing recovery depends on continuing mental health treatment, learning healthier coping strategies, and making better decisions when dealing with life’s challenges. In order to stay alcohol-free for the long term, you’ll also have to face the underlying problems that led to your alcoholism or alcohol abuse in the first place.

When Is It Alcoholism?

In both groups, drinking alcohol caused the release of naturally occurring feel-good opioids known as endorphins in two key brain regions associated with reward processing. Investigators say they have identified specific differences in how the so-called reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers. We know alcohol makes many people feel good, and that it affects the brain, but new research goes a step further by tightening the focus on areas of the brain most likely affected by alcohol. Our focus at BlueCrest is on solutions to addiction and mental health challenges, not living in the problem.

Individuals who have an alcohol addiction need to seek treatment as beating it on your own is very difficult even for the most dedicated of those hoping to quit. For example, 10 percent of children in the United States have a parent who has an alcohol abuse disorder. And three-quarters of those who misuse alcohol are binge drinking, a very high-risk type of abuse that can lead to sudden death. Alcohol is both psychologically and physically addictive, and that’s part of what makes it such a difficult substance abuse problem. Due to genetics, mental health, physical health, and a number of other complications, people may be either more or less susceptible to alcohol addiction.

Consider talking with someone who has had a problem drinking, but has stopped. Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking — a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes significant health and safety risks. Many people addicted to alcohol have experienced some form of trauma in their past. While it is a negative coping tool, it does work but only for a short time.

why is alcohol addictive

They may abuse alcohol once a week, or they may do it much less frequently than that. As alcoholism begins, there are some warning signs that are actually quite clear. These are things why is alcohol addictive you can look for in your own life to determine if you have a problem with alcohol. Others may only binge drink once or twice a week, and then remain sober for quite some time.

Our Taste For Alcohol Goes Back Millions Of Years

The more alcohol consumed, the more GABA transmitted, and the more glutamate transmitted in order to keep balance. This chemical chain reaction is what causes a tolerance to alcohol.

They drive and may not get pulled over for driving under the influence. This condition results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, some of which have not been identified. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that 22.2 million people use marijuana, with about 30 percent of those users having a marijuana use disorder. That amounts to about 6.6 million people with a marijuana use disorder compared with 16 million with an alcohol use disorder. With the repeated disruption of the brain’s neurotransmitter reward system, people become less sensitive to other forms of pleasure.

Having a tolerance to alcohol means it takes more and more drinks to produce the same effect. After enough time, your brain will begin to re-wire itself to regularly expect the sensation of endorphins released by your next drink. At the same time, the alcohol is shutting down parts of the brain that handle why is alcohol addictive impulse control. It can create a cycle in your brain that often leads to more drinking. The truth is, there are several factors that contribute to alcohol addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering from an alcohol addiction, breaking out of the drinking cycle and finding help can be hard.

“By the time I was in my mid-twenties I was locked in to drinking. You may have seen a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, or alcoholism running in families. In part, alcoholism can run in families because children tend to mimic the actions of their parents. In communities where alcoholism is rampant, children are more likely to become alcoholics. At Promises, we create a personalized treatment plan because every individual is different.

Posted by: Debra Rose Wilson

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