The Science behind Alcohol Addiction

by  
Filed under Addiction

The Science behind Alcohol AddictionAlcoholism is often characterized by a number of factors, including the following:

  • Cravings for alcoholic beverages
  • Uncontrolled drinking binges
  • Physical dependence on alcohol
  • Alcohol tolerance and the need to drink more in order to achieve the desired effects

Causes of Alcohol Addiction

While it may be difficult to pinpoint a single factor that causes alcoholism, alcoholism is often associated with a few types of contributing factors, including the following:

  • Genetic – Individuals whose parent or parents struggled with alcoholism or addiction often face a higher risk of developing an alcohol addiction than those whose parents did not have an alcohol problem. It is important to remember, however, that each child whose parent struggled with alcohol abuse does not automatically struggle with alcoholism as well.
  • Psychological – Psychological factors can also increase one’s risk of alcoholism. Individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety or stress may turn to alcohol in an effort to self-medicate and relieve the pressure of daily life.
  • Environmental – Environmental factors, including the home environment that one was raised in, the people one spends time with, the places one frequents and one’s general surroundings, can all affect one’s vulnerability to alcoholism.

How Alcohol Can Affect the Addict

When a user’s body is consistently flooded with alcohol, the brain eventually begins to adapt in order to cope. The chemicals in alcohol can change the chemistry and function of the brain. The brain’s chemical changes can make recovery more difficult since the brain often becomes dependent on alcohol in order to function normally. When alcohol is removed, the addict’s brain and body go through physical and psychological withdrawals.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it works to slow down the user’s brain activity. A change in brain activity can lead to changes in other organ systems since the brain controls them all. Alcohol addiction can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, liver failure, heart complications and reproductive issues. Although there is no cure for alcoholism, professional treatment can help stop the progression of the addiction and help alcoholics find recovery.

How Alcohol Addiction Treatment Can Help

There are a variety of treatment options available for alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Professional treatment can offer an individualized rehab program that includes detox, therapy, counseling and aftercare. The type of treatment that an addict needs can depend on the individual and the severity of the alcohol problem. For some, outpatient treatment will be adequate, but for many alcoholics, an inpatient treatment center can provide the best environment, most comprehensive treatment and care that supports and encourages the patient throughout the recovery process. Individuals who receive professional alcohol treatment are more likely to attain and maintain sobriety than addicts who attempt to quit drinking on their own.

Finding Help for Alcohol Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about the science behind alcoholism and to help connect you with a treatment program that meets your needs. Please call now.

Alcoholism Treatment Help, give us a call at 1 (888) 371-5720