What is So Addictive About Alcohol?
What is so addictive about alcohol addictive substances? It is also one of the most socially acceptable, making it all the easier for an addiction to develop. For these reasons, it has been referred to as “the most dangerous drug.”
Alcohol affects the release of the following chemicals into the brain:
- Dopamine: Produces a sense of satisfaction
- Endorphins: Kills pain
- Glutamate and GABA: Controls message transmission between nerves and brain
Alcohol slows the release of Glutamate and GABA, causing people to say and often do regrettable things. Despite this, many return to alcohol time and time again. Scientists believe dopamine and endorphins are the main reasons why alcohol is so addictive. Other scientists have speculated that people may be genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to alcohol.
Essentially, as is the case with any drug, the “high” that alcohol gives is what is so addictive about alcohol. It can temporarily diminish physical, mental, or emotional pain. It can give a person the courage to do or say things that otherwise might have been left undone or unsaid. It can ease away tension and stress temporarily, making a person feel more cheerful, relaxed, and hopeful for a time. It can help a person blend into a crowd and even gain new friends. However, this lifestyle is one of such illusion that it usually leads to further depression and alcohol abuse. The downward cycle keeps spinning until the person completely loses control of their life because they are so dependent on alcohol to avoid facing reality. This process can take years or almost no time at all, depending on the disposition of the person and a variety of other factors.
Why is Alcohol So Addictive?
As with many other addictions, the alcoholic eventually becomes dependent on alcohol in order to live. A person may consume alcohol initially because of the feeling that they get when they do so. A person who was once a social wallflower may suddenly find that they are the life of the party. A person may also drink in order to “heal” something within or may have a drink to forget about their “bad day.” However, as one drink leads to another, they find that their body has become dependent on the substance in order to live. Any attempt to deprive their body of the alcohol it craves leads to horrible side effects such as depression, anxiety, and even possibly physical symptoms of withdrawal such as a person getting “the shakes.” These withdrawal symptoms make it that much more difficult to quit drinking.
A person becomes an alcoholic as the body’s tolerance to alcohol increases. As the body becomes more efficient at eliminating high levels of alcohol in the blood, the person finds that they must consume more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect. This leads to more drinking and contributes to the addiction. What may have started out as an enjoyable, relaxing activity becomes a crutch that an individual needs just to get by. In other words, to an alcoholic, alcohol becomes something that the body needs in order to live, just as we need the air we breathe and food for our stomachs to provide sustenance.
Alcohol addiction is not something to be taken lightly. Although we know a great deal about the effects alcohol has on the body, we have much more to learn on the topic of why alcohol is so addictive. For example, why do some people seem to be more prone to alcoholism than others? Is it their genetic makeup or do some people have a predisposition to alcohol? As we learn more about this dangerous disease, one thing is for certain, overcoming an addiction to alcohol is no easy task.
When your friends are drinking too much, too often, it can obviously take a toll on their life. Their alcoholic tendencies can also have a detrimental effect on your friendship with them and even your own life quality if you continue associating with them often enough. Dysfunctional relationships, forgotten obligations, moodiness, negativity, and a general preoccupation with alcohol consumption are just some of the telltale signs typically associated with alcoholics.
You need to be wary of alcoholics and protect yourself from letting these behavioral patterns wear off on you, but alcoholics or no, you love your friends and want to help them. This can be a very discouraging goal if your friends are in denial about their addictions and become hostile when questioned, as is often the case with alcoholics.
Some steps to help friends who are alcoholics:
- Approach each friend individually, not in a group or party setting.
- Wait until they are sober and not hung over, if possible.
- Practice what you are going to say before you say it.
- Research and educate yourself about the behavior and thinking of alcoholics.
- Formulate a list of options and resources to help alcoholics recover.
- Challenge them to consider how their drinking is affecting their life.
- Explain the impact their drinking has had on you.
- Avoid using an accusatory, judgmental tone – focus on the actions, not the person.
- Explore the real motives behind their alcohol addiction, like job stress or a failed marriage. This displaces blame somewhat, a popular thing with alcoholics, and makes them feel a little less lousy for falling into the bad habit.
- Be firm, insisting that whatever the reason, you would really like to encourage them to get help because this is no way to live.
Contact 4Rehabilitation For More Information On What is So Addictive About Alcohol
If you or someone you love have an alcohol addiction and you’re seeking help contact 4Rehabilitation immediately to learn what is so addictive about alcohol.