Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why Is Alcohol So Addictive

Genetics And Its Effect On Alcoholism

6 Reasons Why Alcohol Is So Addictive

Its apparent that theres a lot going on in our brains when we drink. But, we cant overlook other reasons why alcohol is addictive. According to The American Society of Addictions Medicine, genetics account for about half the likelihood that a person will develop an alcohol problem. This is a big number!

Through research, we know that people can inherit a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, much like the same genes responsible for your hair and eye color. This predisposition does not mean that you will become addicted. It only means that you are more likely to feel pleasure from alcohol. Staying away from alcohol and developing healthy ways to manage stress are the best ways to prevent addiction.

What Are The Signs That Someone May Be Addicted To Alcohol

As mentioned earlier, alcohol can be a very difficult addiction to spot, largely because it is legal. One could attain alcohol at the local grocery store, one could drink during meals alongside loved ones, and one could hide their intoxication as well as their cravings. Because drinking is socially accepted, one could simply get used to seeing a friend or loved one with a drink in their hands and never even question that addictive behavior is occurring.

Ever since you could remember, you have seen your uncle with a flask in his hand. After a while, the sight just becomes normal. Is he drinking more often? Is he drinking more alcohol? Such details are insignificant.

However, someone who knows what to look for and who is looking in the right places could distinguish dangerous signs of alcoholism.

Treatment For Alcohol Addiction In Mississippi

At Mississippi Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, we understand alcoholism as a painful, progressive, and incredibly challenging disease. Our intensive outpatient and inpatient programs provide people with access to a diverse range of tools for overcoming their addictions. These include medically assisted detox services, group and individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more. If you believe that youre addicted to alcohol and want help in finding your way back to sobriety and good health, were always available to provide it. Call us now at 855-334-6120.

Also Check: Am I An Addict Test

Is Craving Alcohol Normal

A craving is a sensation or a thought or a feeling that urges one to drink. There is no way to classify such cravings. Anything could remind someone of drinking and trigger a craving. There are two sorts of triggers that could cause someone to crave alcohol.

  • External triggers

An external trigger is a person, place, thing that could remind a person of drinking.

  • Internal triggers

An internal trigger may be more difficult to spot, because they simply can just pop up in ones mind. If a mind stops to deliberate on it, which it usually does, the trigger will become more persuasive, quickly developing into a craving.

One can feel a craving to drink when something good happens, and they feel compelled to go out and celebrate. On the flip side, when something bad happens, cravings could arise in an attempt to soothe the situation.

Craving alcohol is normal. For starters, if one drinks with their friends and has a good time, and has learned to associate alcohol with fun, they may frequently feel compelled to drink. In a more scientific explanation, alcohol activates neurons in the brain responsible for pleasure. A natural instinct of humans is to want to prolong and intensify feelings of euphoria.

The Psychological Factors That Drive Alcohol Use Disorder

Why is Alcohol so Addictive?

Being addicted to alcohol is the same as being physically and chemically dependent upon it. However, understanding the factors that increase the likelihood of dependence is important. The line between alcohol abuse and addiction is a very fine one indeed.

With a better understanding of why theyre more predisposed to heavy drinking, people can make the conscious decision to abstain while they still have the power to do so. More importantly, this understanding is also a critical part of the addiction recovery process.

Being addicted to alcohol is not a personal shortcoming or a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a disease. When people know the factors that cause and exacerbate their disease, they are less likely to convince themselves that having just one drink will be unproblematic.

With genetic predisposition, certain physiological factors alter how the brain responds chemically to alcohol use. For those who are genetically predisposed, the desire to drink and the appeal of alcohol itself are largely defined by the tremendous feelings of well-being and happiness that are incited by imbibing.

However, for other people, the risk factors for addiction are largely psychological in nature. For instance, some people drink due to low self-esteem and an overwhelming desire to fit in. This is a common catalyst for alcoholism among young adults, and among those who have experienced substantial physical, emotional, or even sexual abuse during their formative years of life.

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Take Action Now And Call An Experienced Rehab Facility

If you are reading this article, you must be concerned for either yourself or a loved one. Alcoholism is one of the most dangerous addictions around. Because it is legal and socially accepted it could be too late until you realize that someone you love has become alcohol dependent.

Pick up the phone and call Makana Path today. Makana Path is a rehabilitation facility that offers state-of-the-art detox. With semi-private rooms, cozy common spaces, and a fully stocked kitchen, Makana Path is designed to feel like home.

Why Is Alcohol Addictive For Some And Not The Others

It is not surprising that many are questioning Why is alcohol addictive for one individual and does not lead to an addiction for others?. Having studied people with a severe form of addiction, doctors found that they have extremely low levels of endorphins the so-called hormones of joy and pleasure. The production of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine is influenced by both hereditary features of neurotransmitter metabolism and external factors for example, the consumption of alcohol and various stresses.With the very first use of alcohol, addiction in people with a deficiency of the hormone of joy occurs faster and in a much more serious form. As a rule, people who have tried alcohol sooner or later return to its use during periods of stressful situations, when the level of endorphins drops sharply. After all, the brain remembers the state of euphoria and, in moments of strong psychological stress, requires a quick replenishment of the dopamine and serotonin deficiency.Yet, it is necessary to take into account not only heredity but also social factors. Since alcohol is easily accessible, it is difficult for any person, regardless of genetics, to resist the imposed lifestyle. In families, where a person sees a negative attitude to alcohol since childhood, the risk of becoming addictive is much lower. Although, in any case, parents who use or have used addictive substances create a predisposition for their child to become addicted to it.

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Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Stop An Addiction

Social Factors In Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol features in many of lifes major events and rituals, from a glass of champagne to wet a new babys head to a binge at New Year. Unfortunately, this can lead to a habitual association between socializing and drinking, to the point where some people drink every time they go out with others. Its not hard to see how this could be a slippery slope towards alcohol addiction.

Some people also find it easier to relax and converse confidently with others after a drink or two because alcohol lowers inhibitions and can temporarily reduce feelings of social anxiety. It can be tempting to start using alcohol as a way to self-medicate mental health or social issues, and many people end up believing that they need alcohol as a confidence boost.

Find A Good Support Network

Is alcohol addictive? If so, how come everyone doesn’t get addicted?

Many people dont open up about their problems with alcohol because theyre afraid of being judged or ostracized. However, this can make the problem even more difficult because feeling isolated causes further feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, which are all triggers for alcoholism in the first place.

Finding a good support group is very important for anybody who wants to overcome a psychological problem like alcohol addiction.

If your primary support group consists of regular drinkers, its going to be hard to stop drinking. If youre serious about sobering up then it may be time to reconsider what you call a support group.

Finding a new support group isnt always easy. However, there are lots of things that can help you with this.

  • You can find a group of people who enjoy similar hobbies such as you.
  • Take up a new sport or start engaging with locals at a community facility.
  • Try to meet people online through dating or friend-finding platforms

You can also consider joining a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous. These support groups were designed specifically to help people who struggle with alcoholism.

One of the main purposes of this group is to allow people to feel connected to others and understood.

Also Check: Why Is Addiction So Hard To Overcome

Number 5 Choice And Lifestyle

So its true restrictive choice forces us into a corner where we make decisions we would not normally make.

One of my passions for this blog is to review alcohol free products mainly drink but also health care as well after people told me that getting them was difficult or they felt judged. Oh the irony I thought! You cant do right for doing wrong!

When I came out of hospital and did some training on blogs and I began creating what has turned into a great experience with people all over the world commenting and sharing their views.

However, one thing that really struck me was that we live in an alcohol dominated world and as a left-hander I know what that feels like!

In some research done by the University of Newcastle and Bristol they discovered that given a choice people would choose alcohol free beers and gin as much as they would go for the alcohol option. More choice = different decisions.

However, there were a few caveats a hang over of course from years ago when alcoholic choice options were not great but now people would go for them if :

  • They had to taste nice not that awful stuff that used to be served in bars
  • It had to be price fair and people were not penalized for drinking non-alcoholic options
  • Choice was there and available, in other words not difficult to find which it is in bars it still is to be fair
  • The attitude of people around had to be right including bar staff! Not the what you drink that for brigade

Recognizing And Understanding Addiction

Identifying an SUD can be a complicated process. While some signs of addiction are obvious, others are more difficult to recognize. Many people who realize they have a problem will try to hide it from family and friends, making it harder to tell whether someone is struggling.

Television, media, and film often depict people with SUDs as criminals or individuals with moral shortcomings. The truth is, theres no single face of addiction. Anyone can develop patterns of abuse or risky behaviors, no matter their age, culture, or financial status.

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The Most Common Addictions

Millions of people around the world struggle with SUDs. Some of the most common drugs that impede peoples lives include:

  • Nicotine
  • 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.

Clinically Reviewed:

David Hampton

  • About

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

David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors , David works closely with Nashville area treatment centers, nonprofit recovery organizations, and consulting with faith-based groups trying to bridge the gap between the recovery communities and faith-based organizations who wish to understand addiction.

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Becoming Alcohol Dependent

Beating Alcoholism: Why is Alcohol Addiction so Hard to Beat?

Taking regular breaks from alcohol is the best way to lower your risk of becoming dependent on it. If you drink regularly, your body builds up a tolerance to alcohol. Tolerance is a physiological response we have to any drug: the more you consume, the more your body needs to have the same effect. Regular drinking induces certain enzymes in your liver that break up alcohol. If you drink heavily over weeks or months, levels of these enzymes go up, your tolerance builds and you need more alcohol to get the same effects 3.

Brain systems get tolerant to alcohol too, and although you may be able to walk a straight line after drinking quite a lot, this means the brain has adapted so that next day the brain cells expect alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and jitteriness occur, and you can find yourself drinking alcohol just to relieve that.

When youre drinking most days you can become psychologically dependent on alcohol too.

Breaking your drinking cycle is an important way to test for and tackle this kind of dependence. It can prevent your body from becoming accustomed to alcohol and help to lower or reset your tolerance.

Recommended Reading: What Causes Addiction In The Brain

How To Tell If You Or A Loved One Is Addicted To Alcohol

If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to alcohol, call

Helpline Information to speak to a treatment support representative about your recovery options.

An individual who displays 2 or more of the following signs or symptoms within the past year6 may already be struggling with a drinking problem or, more technically, meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.

  • More alcohol is consumed and more often than the drinker intended.
  • Consistent failed attempts to quit drinking.
  • Spending an excessive amount of time buying and drinking alcohol, and recovering from its effects.
  • Strong craving to drink alcohol.
  • Neglecting work, home or school responsibilities in favor of alcohol use.
  • Continuing to drink regardless of consequences.
  • Choosing alcohol over previously enjoyed activities.
  • Using alcohol in dangerous situations such as driving.
  • Choosing to drink despite psychological or physical problems caused or worsened by alcohol.
  • Tolerance: requiring increased amounts of alcohol to get the same desired effects and drinking the same amount but experiencing less of an effect.
  • Withdrawal: experiencing withdrawal symptoms or drinking to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Getting Treatment and Starting Recovery

Common treatments include inpatient, outpatient and 12-step.

only about 20% of alcoholics receive treatment

Some common treatments for alcoholism include:


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:5

Physical And Psychological Addiction To Alcohol

Alcohol can be both physically and psychologically addictive. This is not a debate, discussion or theory, it is a fact and it is estimated that approximately 3 million people a year die from alcohol use worldwide. Drinking alcohol occasionally in moderation will not have any long-term negative side effects on your brain chemistry as dopamine levels and endorphins are only elevated for a short amount of time.

But when you indulge in long-term heavy drinking, frequent binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption, it does affect the delicate chemical balance within the brain. Sustained substance abuse will lead to permanent changes in the chemical make-up of the brain, resulting in alcohol dependence and addiction.

Alcohol is physically addictive because it alters the chemicals in your brain. The brain is a complex organ and normal brain function relies on a delicate balance between neurotransmitters. Drugs and alcohol modify the chemical balance in the brain and interfere with the normal release of neurotransmitters.

Alcohol reacts with the GABA receptors in your brain releasing endorphins and increasing dopamine levels that produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The desire to recreate these feelings and the fact that your brain associates the sensation of euphoria with drinking creates an increased desire to consume alcohol. When you stop drinking your body continues to crave the alcohol and the feelings of euphoria that go hand in hand with alcohol consumption.

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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.

Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Dependence

The Reason Alcohol Is So Addictive – Jordan Peterson

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.

    Recommended Reading: How To Stop An Addiction

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