Someone with parents or close relatives who have an addiction to alcohol may be at an increased risk for alcohol addiction because of this exposure, even if there is no genetic cause of the alcoholism. Alcohol abuse becomes an addiction when the individual can no longer abstain from using alcohol because of a physical and psychological reliance. When the person cannot socialize without the prospect of drinking, and when they regularly over consume to the point of blacking out, are both indications of addiction.

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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. When not drinking, these people usually experience withdrawal symptoms. Due to tolerance and to avoid withdrawal, someone with AUD must drink more and more alcohol to achieve the same effects. Alcohol as an intoxicant affects a wide range of structures and processes in the central nervous system and increases the risk for intentional and unintentional injuries and adverse social consequences. Alcohol has considerable toxic effects on the digestive and cardiovascular systems. Alcoholic beverages are classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and increase the risk of several cancer types.

Drinking Alone as a Teen May Foreshadow Future Alcohol…

It can also interfere with the development of young people’s brains, resulting in lowered IQ scores. It activates reward circuits in the brain, leading to a feeling of euphoria, which can be habit-forming. It also interacts with neurotransmitter systems in stress and reward circuits, which can lead to brain function changes over time and contribute to alcoholism.

GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (by way of creating a dramatic rise of chlorine ion release into neurons). GABA-A are receptors that decrease the excitability within neurons, which ethanol actually binds to. GABA-A interferes with the main excitatory why is alcohol addictive neurotransmitter, known as glutamate, which is responsible for carrying signals between nerve cells in the body. Glutamate’s ability to communicate is inhibited when alcohol has been consumed. It can have long-lasting effects on neurotransmitters in the brain, decreasing their effectiveness.


By Courtney Cosby “I drank too much last night, and the night before that. While I am consuming it, it is consuming me.” These are words that sadly come out of the mouths of too many people. Alcoholism is painful both for the individual who can’t stay away from the drink and for the people who love them, as they watch them move through life in a haze.

why is alcohol addictive

It can cause both psychological dependence (drinking to avoid unpleasant feelings) and physical dependence (withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit). In addition to experiencing withdrawal, people who try to stop drinking may struggle with intense cravings. The same NSDUH found that there are nearly 15 million Americans over the age of 12 years with an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

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