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What makes alcohol so addictive?

March 22, 2018

People often begin drinking as a social activity with friends, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but for those who are disposed to alcohol addiction, that can be where the trouble starts. Spending time with good friends is great fun. Add alcohol and you can feel a very pleasant ‘buzz’ and as you drink more, feelings of euphoria. You might perhaps be funnier than you usually are, or more chatty, and that can give you a high too – a feeling of being part of the group and fitting in. Or alcohol may simply allow you to forget about any pains and problems you have for a few hours.

But any of those feelings of euphoria can become addictive, and the more you drink to get that same high, the higher your tolerance of alcohol gets, and the more you need to drink to feel as good as you did the first time.

Psychological and Physical Addiction to Alcohol

If you continue to drink to keep matching that high, you’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t feel you can be yourself without alcohol. It’s a crutch to enable you to be more sociable or to get you through life. That’s the psychological addiction to alcohol.

If you then continue to drink to the point that you can’t stop without starting to have withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, anxiety, hallucinations and confusion, then you are physically addicted to alcohol and your body craves it.

Drinking alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and serotonin and these chemicals in your brain are what make you feel so good when you drink. Heavy drinkers also seem to have a higher release of these neurotransmitters, which makes it even harder to give up.

Alcohol is so addictive because it affects your brain, your body and your emotions with both psychological and physical addiction.


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