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Physical Effects of Alcohol Addiction: Brain and Body

Of these millions, more than 25% reported binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is considered to be a red flag when it comes to consuming alcohol that often leads to more serious problems such as alcohol addiction. The withdrawal process is very challenging and difficult to go through, as the brain and body crave the level of alcohol they are accustomed to receiving. Avoiding withdrawal is a strong motivator for an alcoholic to continue to drink.

why is alcohol addictive

Alcohol, in particular, is dangerous to mix with other substances since it is a depressant. Severe damage to the heart, brain, and other organs can occur, as well as overdose. Grant and her colleagues wondered whether resetting their dopamine reward pathways might curb their desire to drink alcohol. To do this, they used a harmless virus to deliver the gene for a protein called glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) to an area of the brain that is implicated in addiction and reward. Millions of readers rely on HelpGuide.org for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges. Please donate today to help us save, support, and change lives.

Cancer risk

These symptoms are a combination of the brain’s reaction to discontinued use and the body trying to adjust without the substance. At an alcohol addiction treatment center in Houston, therapists and clinicians help you manage these withdrawal symptoms, so you can focus on your sobriety and recovery. Around half of people with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental health disorders. Mental health and alcohol addiction influence each other in a couple of ways. People with conditions like depression, anxiety, trauma, or bipolar disorder may use alcohol to cope with their psychiatric symptoms.

powerless over alcohol

Often, drinking begins as a negative coping method to decrease the discomfort linked to the trauma experience. This can explain the overlap between PTSD and alcohol use disorders. Gender can also play a role in whether a person develops an alcohol use disorder. Research shows that men are more likely to have an alcohol addiction, https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/why-is-alcohol-addictive/ but women are at a greater risk of health problems from alcohol abuse. Men and women metabolize alcohol differently, which can explain the difference in risks for alcohol addiction. Men tend to have a lower response to alcohol, which can make them more likely to use larger quantities and develop an addiction.

Social Drinking

What starts as alcohol abuse can quickly and easily change to alcohol dependence. Even a single bout of binge drinking can destroy the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, causing them to relay information too slowly and trigger mood changes. This can result in depression, agitation, memory loss and seizures. Sadly, many people die every year during bouts of binge drinking. For heavy, long-term drinkers, alcohol has been found to reduce the size of brain cells and overall brain mass. This can impact motor coordination, sleep, mood and an array of cognitive functions.

You may lie to family and friends and even your doctor about your alcohol consumption. You may stash alcohol around the house so you can take a nip here or there. You’re dishonest about the amount of alcohol you drink when loved ones ask. If you’re feeling the need to cover up how much you drink, there’s a good chance you’re drinking much more than you should. Alcohol is one of the most commonly consumed legal ‘drugs’ in the world. From celebrating weddings and the birth of a child to unwinding after a long day at work and drinking to decompress, alcohol is a part of just about everyone’s life in one way or another.

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