Why is Alcohol Addictive?
In today’s article, we will try to answer a common question “Why are people addicted to alcohol?”.
Addictive Alcohol – Factors behind it
So, why is alcohol addictive? Only a few psychotropic substances cause all three addictions and alcohol is one of them.
Psychological dependence occurs when a person’s behavior changes even from a thought about a substance or awareness of a chance to use it soon. This dependence is formed in the brain and is associated with the neurotransmitter metabolism of dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Under the influence of alcohol, neurons (brain cells) become accustomed to a specific state of arousal, which in cases of severe intoxication can be compared with a narcotic one. To obtain a comfortable state, a person increasingly needs alcohol and an increase in the amount drunk.
Physical dependence occurs as a result of changes in the way neurotransmitters act under the influence of a substance. Alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters cause excitement and euphoria, but over time their resources are depleted, and the number of receptors decreases. This causes withdrawal symptoms if alcohol is not consumed.Physical dependence is also in many respects energetic because it is caused by the consumption of high concentrations of an easily absorbed alcoholic product. It is associated with a deep metabolic disorder and reveals itself in the form of a deficiency of internal alcohol, increased activity of alcoholic enzymes in the body, and the inability of the body to maintain natural psychophysiological processes without alcohol coming from outside. This also inevitably leads to withdrawal symptoms and addiction.
Addiction to the dose develops as a result of an increase in the activity of liver enzymes that catabolize the substance to remove toxins, a decrease in the number of receptors for the substance in the central nervous system, and even the appearance of antibodies to it. Therefore, to achieve the same effect, it is necessary to increase the dose of alcohol.
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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