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How Do People Get Addicted To Alcohol

What Does Alcohol Do To Us When We Drink It

How Do People Get Addicted To Alcohol So Easily

Alcohol is a very simple chemical that can bring about big changes in the complex functions of the human brain. When we drink alcohol, it triggers the release of other chemicals in the body that make us feel more content and less sensitive to pain. So, it is no surprise that once we start drinking, we often want to carry on.

For some of us, alcohol becomes something we carry on consuming even though the negative consequences are plain to see.

Withdrawal Symptoms Made It Difficult For Us To Change Our Patterns

As we have already learnt, the body thrives on evenness and internal stability. If you have developed a physical dependency to alcohol, there can be several unpleasant symptoms that may require significant resilience and perseverance. In this way, we may feel like it is easier to carry on rather than experience the discomfort of medically assisted alcohol detox.

Why Are Some People More Prone To Addiction

Addiction is a very complicated subject and its something that scientists and psychologists are still trying to understand. What can be said is this: addiction does not discriminate it can affect people of all ages, intelligence levels and backgrounds. The signs, symptoms and causes of addiction can vary from person to person, but still, addiction can have a damaging effect on anyone’s livelihood and it’s often difficult to manage without professional addiction treatments.

Despite the difficulty in ascribing exactly what makes some people more prone to addiction than others, countless studies have found that a combination of factors can play a part. Environment, genetics, family background, personality traits, and even stress can all make someone more likely to try drugs or alcohol in the first place. Experimenting with different substances doesn’t automatically lead to addiction however, when different factors contribute to the taking of drugs and alcohol, addictions can develop.

Although nobody can completely eliminate the possibility of becoming an addict, The National Institute on Drug Abuse has highlighted some of the most common risk factors that make some more susceptible to it than others.

To discuss how the Life Works team can help to support individuals and families dealing with addiction and for further information on treatment and rehabilitation programmes, please call: 01483 745 066 or click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.

Also Check: What Are The Effects Of Drug Addiction

Get Help For Teen Alcohol Problems

If you are a teenager or know one who is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction problems, help is available. There are many programs that specialize in treating addicted teens. Contact a treatment provider to discuss treatment options.

  • About

Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

  • Harvard Health Publications. . Alcohol Use and Abuse. Retrieved on August 23, 2014
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. . Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Retrieved on August 23, 2014

Clinically Reviewed:

David Hampton

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Physical Dependence And Alcohol Withdrawal

How Long to Get Addicted to Alcohol

After a person becomes tolerant of alcohol, their body becomes physically dependent on it, too. In other words, the body needs alcohol in the system to function normally. People who are physically dependent on alcohol will experience painful and sometimes severe symptoms of withdrawal when they stop drinking.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever

The agony and discomfort of withdrawal is a key factor as to why alcohol is so addictive. Many people who want to stop drinking continue to do so simply to avoid going into withdrawal.

Read Also: How To Talk To An Addict About Getting Help

Overcome Addiction With Professional Treatment

The most successful treatment plans for addiction recovery typically include:

  • Medically supervised detoxification, as withdrawal effects can be severe and dangerous.
  • Inpatient or intensive outpatient rehabilitation. Effective programs include individual, group, and family counseling, behavioral health services, and medication-assisted treatment .
  • Use of evidence-based treatment approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy .
  • Treatment of both mental illness and substance use disorder in dual diagnosis cases.
  • Ongoing support and assistance after the patient completes the in-clinic program, including psychiatric and medication services as needed.
  • Alumni and peer support services.

What Causes Alcohol Dependence

Usually several different factors contribute to someone becoming alcohol dependent. Stressful events, such as bereavement or losing a job, can also trigger heavy drinking, which can then lead to alcohol dependence.

Alcohol dependence can run in families. Its partly down to your genes, but is also influenced by your familys attitudes to alcohol and the environment you grow up in.

People who are alcohol dependent have higher rates of other psychiatric disorders than people in the general population particularly depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis and drug misuse. Often, people drink to try and reduce the symptoms , but in the long term alcohol makes these disorders worse because it interferes with the chemical balance in our brains.

Some people believe that theres such thing as an addictive personality which leads to alcohol dependence. But theres not much strong evidence to support this view.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Dependence

If you’re worried that you may be becoming alcohol dependent or are concerned about someone else’s drinking, look out for these four warning signs and symptoms:

  • Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family and work events around alcohol.
  • Finding you have a compulsive need to drink and finding it hard to stop once you start.
  • Waking up and drinking or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning.
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol.
  • If youre worried that you have any of these symptoms of alcohol dependence, talk to your GP or seek further information from one of the organisations at the bottom of this page.

    Find Help For Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism Today

    Why Do People Get Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol?

    Even though alcohol can be extremely addictive, it is also possible to recover. Treatment for alcoholism consists of detox, counseling, peer support, and long-term aftercare.

    Everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to recovery, and our team at New Jersey Interventions is dedicated to helping you identify your needs and select the best alcohol rehab center for you. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, please give us a call today.


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    Effects Of Alcohol Dependence On The Body

    Being alcohol dependent can lead to a whole range of serious health problems. If youre dependent on alcohol, you increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, coronary alcohol-related heart disease and alcohol-related liver disease.

    Prolonged heavy drinking damages your liver. An estimated seven out of 10 people with alcoholic liver disease have an alcohol dependency problem5.

    How To Accomplish Your Goals

    After youve set your goals to either stop or cut back your drinking, write down some ideas on how you can help yourself accomplish these goals. For example:

    Get rid of temptations. Remove all alcohol, barware, and other alcohol-related paraphernalia from your home and office.

    Announce your goal. Let friends, family members, and co-workers know that youre trying to stop or cut back on drinking. If they drink, ask them to support your recovery by not doing so in front of you.

    Be upfront about your new limits. Make it clear that drinking will not be allowed in your home and that you may not be able to attend events where alcohol is being served.

    Avoid bad influences. Distance yourself from people who dont support your efforts to stop drinking or respect the limits youve set. This may mean giving up certain friends and social connections.

    Learn from the past. Reflect on previous attempts to stop or reduce your drinking. What worked? What didnt? What can you do differently this time to avoid pitfalls?

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    Chemical Changes While Drinking And Drinking Patterns

    When a person drinks alcohol, the endorphins produced cause a high feeling known as being drunk or intoxicated. People who drink in moderation are able to process alcohol at a healthy rate without sustaining significant chemical changes. However, people who drink heavily, binge drink, or abuse alcohol in any other way will begin changing their brain on a chemical level.

    Researchers believe that heavy drinking changes the brain in a way that makes a person more likely to find alcohol pleasant and crave more of it. The more a person drinks, the more they crave alcohol. Then, they drink to satisfy that craving, but the alcohol wears off and they crave it again. The more a person gives in to these cravings by drinking, the higher their tolerance becomes. As tolerance increases, they must consume more alcohol each sitting to reach the level of intoxication that they are chasing. Without professional treatment, this cycle continues.

    This is how heavy drinkers get caught in a seemingly endless cycle of alcohol abuse.

    How Severe Is The Alcoholism Problem

    Is Your Friend Addicted to Alcohol? ...Are You??

    Alcohol is easily available and a fundamental part of popular culture. Yet, when you look at the statistics on the effects of excessive drinking, they are eye-opening.

    According to the World Health Organization , the harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 3 million deaths worldwide, which is more than 5 per cent of all deaths. Even more worrisome is the fact that more than 13 per cent of deaths in young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 years can be attributed to alcohol.

    Alcohol is implicated as a causative factor in more than 200 diseases. It is responsible for significant social and economic losses.

    Addiction to alcohol can take you by surprise. Before you know it, what starts as social drinking can turn into cravings and addiction. If you and your loved ones enjoy drinking occasionally, its good to know how long does it take to develop alcohol dependence. That way you are aware of risky drinking patterns. You know when youre crossing the line and when to cut back. And you know how tohelp a friend or family member who may be alcoholic.

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    Is Getting Drunk Bad For You

    The more alcohol you drink, the stronger the effects of alcohol on the body. Being very drunk can be dangerous. It can cause seizures, dehydration, injuries, vomiting, coma, and even death. It can be helpful to know the signs of being drunk so you can avoid possible harm to yourself by continuing to drink.

    Handling Setbacks In Your Recovery

    Alcohol recovery is a processone that often involves setbacks. Dont give up if you relapse or slip. A drinking relapse doesnt mean youre a failure or that youll never be able to reach your goal. Each drinking relapse is an opportunity to learn and recommit to sobriety, so youll be less likely to relapse in the future.

    Also Check: How To Treat Addiction To Video Games

    Psychological Addiction To Alcohol

    When physical dependence, tolerance, and cravings co-exist, alcohol abuse has transformed into alcohol addiction. People who are addicted to alcohol rely on the release of endorphins in the brain that occurs when they drink. Without it, they may feel dull, depressed, anxious, or discontent.

    The urge to experience that endorphin rush can drive people to do things they would normally not dosuch as lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want. Further, the changes in the brain induced by alcohol abuse make individuals more vulnerable to risk-taking and impulsive behaviors.

    Treatment Options For Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

    What is alcoholism… how do intelligent people get addicted?

    Alcohol addiction can lead to several devastating consequences. Nearly 90,000 people die each year due to alcohol-related causes. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

    People who are physically dependent on alcohol will need the support of a healthcare professional to stop drinking.

    Treatment options for alcohol misuse and addiction include inpatient care, outpatient care, or detoxprograms. The right treatment option depends on each person’s background and individual needs.

    If you are struggling with alcohol use and addiction, see your health care provider for an evaluation. Your doctor can provide medical advice, make a treatment plan, and refer you to addiction treatment facilities.

    In this article

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    How Do You Get Addicted To Alcohol

    In this series on alcoholism, we have described alcoholism as a specific type of addiction. In the following sections, we answer the question, “How do you get addicted to alcohol?” There are biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual reasons that people can become addicted to alcohol. Our goal is to help you, the reader, appreciate the complexity of addiction. Like most complex problems, there is a broad range of possible solutions. Our position is that complex problems, like addiction, do not benefit from single, simplistic solutions. People benefit from having a range of possible solutions to their addiction problems. So let’s begin. “How DO people get addicted to alcohol?” Understanding how we get addicted will ultimately lead us to the more important question, “How can we recover from alcoholism?”

    How And Why Do People Become Addicted To Drugs

    As noted in the ASAM definition, addiction often involves a combination of factors, including a persons brain circuitry, genetics, environment, and life experiences. Additional risk factors may include mental illness, chronic pain, and the developmental stage in which they first use substances, especially in adolescents. The more risk factors a person has, the more likely they will develop an addiction.

    Lets review each risk factor in more detail.

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    What Medications Are Used To Treat Alcohol Use & Abuse

    Some medications can help patients quit drinking, treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse. Patients may also receive different medications while in the care of an addiction treatment professional to help address symptoms of co-occurring disorders if necessary.

    Some of the medications patients may receive in the care an inpatient or outpatient treatment provider include:8,12

    • Naltrexone, which can help reduce the urge to drink and help to curb problem drinking. It blocks the receptors in the brain that make people feel good when they drink, and it may help to reduce cravings.
    • Acamprosate, which is designed to decrease cravings and urges to drink alcohol.
    • Disulfiram, , which discourages people from drinking. It blocks the metabolism of alcohol in a persons body so that they experience unpleasant symptoms, like nausea, if they decide to drink.

    Drinking At An Early Age

    How Do People Get Addicted To Alcohol So Easily

    According to the Mayo Clinic, those who begin drinking at an early age are more likely to have an alcohol problem or a physical dependence on alcohol as they get older. Not only is this because drinking may become a comfortable habit, but also because the bodys tolerance levels may increase.

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    Alcoholics Anonymous And Other Support Groups

    Many people addicted to alcohol also turn to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous . There are also other support groups that dont follow the 12-step model, such as SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery.

    Regardless of the type of support system, its helpful to get involved in at least one when getting sober. Sober communities can help someone struggling with alcohol addiction deal with the challenges of sobriety in day-to-day life. Sober communities can also share relatable experiences and offer new, healthy friendships. And these communities make the person with an alcohol addiction accountable and provide a place to turn to if there is a relapse.

    A Professional Opinion Of Addiction

    One theory is that people who suffer from negative emotionality are more likely to turn to drugs and/or alcohol for relief, escapism or comfort. Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Kentucky in the USA, Thomas Kelly has said that previous research has demonstrated a relationship between sensation seeking, impulsivity and the initiation of drug and alcohol use. Kelly also said that the emerging literature relates urgency, or emotion-based rash action, to heavy and problematic drug and alcohol use.

    Continuing to comment on the 2012 study, he continued to say that negative emotionality is a distinct personality dimension from urgency. Previous literature also demonstrates that the development of heavy alcohol use is associated with sensitivity to d-amphetamine combined with negative emotionality. This suggests that it is important to examine risk factors and their interaction within the context of the stage of drug use.

    Its estimated that two million people in the UK alone are currently fighting an addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering with an addiction to alcohol, please feel free to visit our Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.

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    Social And Peer Influences

    A persons social circle and environment can also increase their risk of alcohol use disorder. Most adult gatherings involve some type of alcohol. American culture also views alcohol as a way to connect with others, have a good time, or celebrate accomplishments. However, people who spend time with those who frequently binge drink or who are alcoholics themselves may be more likely to abuse alcohol and get addicted to it. The more a person drinks and surrounds themself with alcohol, the more likely they are to suffer adverse effects of it.

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