Sports Blog

What Makes Alcohol Addictive?

If you stop drinking, you’ll experience the consequences of suddenly imbalanced neurochemistry in the form of withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance to alcohol occurs in frequent alcohol drinkers over time as the individual’s body becomes acclimated to the effects of alcohol. This results in alcohol producing a reduced effect on the individual and/or the individual requiring more alcohol over time in order to produce the same effects at earlier stages in their alcohol use. Experimenting with alcohol at a young age can lead to problems later on in life, especially in your 20s and 30s.

Why is Alcohol Addictive

The neural activity of glutamate essentially opposes that of GABA and results in a generalized increase in brain cell excitation or firing rate. This begins a vicious cycle of increased drinking followed by greater tolerance that eventually leads to dependence and addiction. Studies have shown a strong link between a person’s genetic makeup and the likelihood that they will develop an addiction. Your family history, other genetic disorders, and your ethnicity may all be risk factors for addiction. If you have a parent or grandparent that struggled with alcoholism, it’s wise to be extremely careful with drugs and other substances.


Unlike other alcoholic drinks, it tends to have a lower alcohol content by volume , ranging from 1.8% to 11%. The most common beers on the market fall between 4 and 6 percent, with the average adult being intoxicated after 3 to 5 beers. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health , in 2019, over 60% of Americans admitted to having drunk alcohol in the past year, though most would not say they had an alcohol problem. It is possible to consume alcohol without being an alcoholic; however, if your life is negatively affected by alcohol, you may have an alcohol use disorder .

Why is Alcohol Addictive

This often leads to people getting caught up in a self-fulfilling prophecy, where they tell themselves that the only way to feel better is to drink more alcohol. The new article will say that, 10 years later, four of the 20 had died from alcohol-related causes. Eight others were still drinking excessively, six were abstinent but in most cases after multiple hospitalizations, and one was drinking moderately. Another subject, who could not be found, was reported gravely disabled. A person will drink to regain that feeling of euphoria experienced in phase 1; the drinking will increase as more intoxication is required to achieve the same effect.

After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them. The Controlled Substances Act is a law that regulates legal and illegal drugs in the United States. Under the CSA, drugs are categorized into different “schedules” according to a drug’s perceived danger and potential for dependence. For example, Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug because of its illegal status and extremely addictive qualities. Legal medications on the other hand, such as over-the-counter Painkillers and cough Suppressants, are categorized as Schedule V because of their low chances for abuse.


Individuals may begin to turn to alcohol as it allows them to pay less attention to feelings of self-consciousness or awkwardness in social situations. Our self-assessment may be helpful in recognizing substance abuse in yourself. Medical detox can help you to avoid dangerous symptoms such as seizures and delirium, and it can help treat uncomfortable symptoms.

  • Long-term misuse of alcohol can cause a wide range of mental health problems.
  • Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and increases your risk of an enlarged heart, heart failure or stroke.
  • 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.
  • ManualNomenclatureDefinitionDSM-IVAlcohol abuse, or Alcohol dependenceAlcohol abuse – repeated use despite recurrent adverse consequences.

A majority of people who seek treatment for an SUD are struggling with a dependence on more than one type of substance. Polydrug use involves the consumption of one type of substance alongside another. This is often done to intensify a drug’s pleasurable effects or to reduce its unpleasant side effects. People with mental health disorders are more likely to develop an SUD than the general population. Over 40% of all drug-related emergency room visits of people under the age of 20 were caused by alcohol abuse. High-functioning alcoholics, who are not medically diagnosed as such, do not fit the typical characteristics of a person struggling with an AUD.

Over time, the body builds up a tolerance to consumption amounts, forcing a person to drink even more to achieve the same effect. This can result in a number of physical and emotional health problems, some of them permanent.

The Most Common Addictions

If a health worker suspect alcohol may be a problem, they may ask a series of questions. If the patient answers in a certain way, the doctor may then use a standardized questionnaire to find out more. Alcohol consumption becomes a problem when it takes precedence over all other activities.

  • Individuals at risk of a severe withdrawal syndrome as well as those who have significant or acute comorbid conditions can be treated as inpatients.
  • This can make it difficult to identify when someone has an issue with wine consumption.
  • Alcohol dependence can form quickly and aggressively, or it may surface over a longer period of time.

Treatment for alcohol use disorder begins with detox, during which alcohol is flushed from the system. Consistent alcohol abuse causes a chemical dependency in the brain. Abruptly changing the chemical balance by quitting can lead to seizures, intense pain and loss of consciousness. These symptoms usually subside over 48 hours after Why is Alcohol Addictive the last drink was consumed. Completing detox at FHE with medical professionals ensures a safe and more comfortable process. Excessive drinking can lead to physiological, interpersonal and lifestyle problems. Fortunately, despite the severity of alcohol use disorder, most people find that treatment is beneficial in some way.

Is Binge Drinking Considered Heavy Alcohol Use?

For this reason, alcohol is often consumed in social situations where it may reduce anxiety, negate worries about other’s opinions, and boost confidence. Endorphins are the chemical culprit responsible for every addiction, whether substance or behavior. This is your body’s way of rewarding and encouraging good behavior. The two manuals use similar but not identical nomenclature to classify alcohol problems.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines “moderate use” as no more than two alcoholic beverages a day for men and no more than one alcoholic beverage a day for women. It defines a standard drink as one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. An inference drawn from this study is that evidence-based policy strategies and clinical preventive services may effectively reduce binge drinking without requiring addiction treatment in most cases. Alcoholics may also require treatment for other psychotropic drug addictions and drug dependencies. Benzodiazepines may be used legally, if they are prescribed by doctors for anxiety problems or other mood disorders, or they may be purchased as illegal drugs.

Undergo Medical Examinations

If you are reading this article, you must be concerned for either yourself or a loved one. Because it is legal and socially accepted it could be too late until you realize that someone you love has become alcohol dependent. A “craving” is a sensation or a thought or a feeling that urges one to drink. Anything could remind someone of drinking and trigger a craving. There are two sorts of triggers that could cause someone to crave alcohol. Alcohol is so addictive simply because it is legal and so accessible. You could go out and score some heroin, but you run the risk of spending the next few years in jail.

  • Misuse, problem use, abuse, and heavy use of alcohol refer to improper use of alcohol, which may cause physical, social, or moral harm to the drinker.
  • As an addiction tends to get worse over time, it’s important to look for early warning signs.
  • Therapy is useful to help teach someone how to manage the stress of recovery and the skills needed to prevent a relapse.

When you stop drinking, you may experience potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, especially if you stop abruptly. If you continue to drink, you may start to become chemically dependent on alcohol.

Understanding that you or your loved one needs alcohol addiction treatment is the first step in moving forward. At FHE Health, we work closely with you to ensure you have every opportunity possible to achieve these goals.

Mental Health Issues Such As Depression Or Anxiety

Experts have tried to pinpoint factors like genetics, sex, race, or socioeconomics that may predispose someone to alcohol addiction. Psychological, genetic, and behavioral factors can all contribute to having the disease. Side effects may include anxiety, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. A dependence is present when users develop a physical tolerance to a substance. They may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug altogether. Usually a dependency is resolved by slowly tapering off the use of a particular substance.

While addiction to alcohol can affect almost anyone, studies show various factors that may make a person more inclined to addiction. A person’s genetics, the makeup of their brain, and the environment they are in are the most likely indicators of abuse. Statistically, men and those of native american descent are most likely to experience alcohol addiction. Adverse life events, traumatic experiences, and early exposure to alcohol are all environmental factors that can influence a person. Adverse Childhood Experiences is an assessment used to measure experiences as a child that increase one’s risk of alcohol abuse. Ethanol can also cause nausea and vomiting, which is why people often become sick if they drink too much of this substance at one time. Alcohol intoxication results as the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream increases.

Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today.

The higher the blood alcohol concentration is, the more likely you are to have bad effects. Alcohol intoxication causes behavior problems and mental changes.

The concept of “harmful use” (as opposed to “abuse”) was introduced in 1992’s ICD-10 to minimize underreporting of damage in the absence of dependence. Many people who struggle with alcohol addiction find it difficult or impossible to quit without the help or support of others. There are many professionals and support groups designed to get you the help you need.

  • Share:

Leave a Comment

sing in to post your comment or sign-up if you don't have any account.