How Easy It Is to Be Addicted to Alcohol

Between the constant ads, songs, celebrations, and establishments that encourage consumption- it is absolutely no surprise then on just how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol. Did you know that…

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Between the constant ads, songs, celebrations, and establishments that encourage consumption- it is absolutely no surprise then on just how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol. Did you know that between the years of 1971 and 2011, alcohol advertising in the United States increased by more than 400%?! There is big money in alcohol, and with the current state of our society and world as far as stress levels, the alcohol industry is no doubt still thriving. Alcohol manufacturers have bombarded the public for years with advertisements in video, digital, and printed publications. These advertisements often show drinking alcohol as a fun, socially accepted, relaxing way to enjoy the ups and downs of life. Similar to the smoking cigarettes campaign in the 1940’s, which we all know today was completely a farce. Although these tactics are in no way an excuse for someone’s alcohol addiction, they can however explain how alcohol addiction has been steadily climbing over the decades. Adding to this deadly climb of addiction to alcohol in our society are the basics of what alcohol does to our brain. Drinking alcohol increases the production of several chemicals in the brain called dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals act as natural painkillers while also producing pleasurable feelings for the envied. Which is precisely why once a person starts drinking they often want to carry on in order to keep that pleasurable feeling going. Alcohol has a strong presence in our society, but understanding why may be the key to finding a solution for someone addicted to alcohol. 

How Easy It Is To Be Addicted To Alcohol In Today’s World

Not only is alcohol found everywhere, but it’s affordable, and oftentimes delicious thanks to the creative palette of alchemists and manufacturers. Alcohol, or ethyl alcohol technically, is a simple chemical that can cause significant changes in the complex functions of the human brain and body. It is because of these caused changes to the brain that alcohol is a highly addictive substance. From a scientific standpoint, alcohol suppresses the central nervous system and slows down normal brain functions. Alcohol simultaneously slows the release of and response to normal brain neurotransmitters, while also stimulating the release of other neurotransmitters. The stimulated neurotransmitters are dopamine and endorphins, which most of us know as the ‘natural happy drugs’ that create pleasurable sensations. Unfortunately alcohol suppresses the normal release of these neurotransmitters, therefore leaving the envibed person only feeling good when they drink alcohol. These changes can explain how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol because people tend to require increasingly more significant amounts of alcohol to become intoxicated. As a result, these changes to the brain create a vicious cycle of dependence that keeps the person addicted to alcohol. Alcohol consumption can cause unhealthy impulse control and decision-making, and becomes an addiction when continued despite the negative consequences. 

How Genetics Can Play A Role In Alcohol Addiction  

Research is now confirming that some people have a predisposition to being addicted to  alcohol thanks to their genetics. Each of us is so genetically similar, yet we have tiny differences that can play huge roles in who we are and what we seek. And in fact, heritability has an impact on approximately 60 percent of alcohol-addicted persons. When it comes to the brain and how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol, genetics show that some of us are wired perhaps a bit differently. Interestingly enough, for some the brain releases more pleasure chemicals in response to alcohol, making those more susceptible to physical alcohol addiction. Environment also plays a huge role within the family circle, where alcohol prevalence can also help explain how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol. For those who have a family history of alcoholism, or grew up around a family member addicted to alcohol, they are more likely to develop alcohol addiction later in life. Hence the importance of family support and understanding toward a loved one addicted to alcohol. There are alcohol recovery centers that understand how sobriety for some of us is a family journey as well. Maui Recovery, for example, combines the best evidence-based treatments with powerful and transformative holistic and experimental therapies to treat the whole client. This whole client standpoint can include the involvement of family support in the healing journey toward sobriety. If you or a loved one are addicted to alcohol, there is no better time than now to find help from an alcohol addiction treatment facility. 

Societal and Social Pressure Of Drinking Alcohol In Today’s World

Alcohol addiction, let alone consumption, is very prevalent in our culture and also around the world. Being legal and very affordable in the United States, alcohol is more accessible than other substances associated with addiction. Found in many places; such as restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, family functions, hotels and resorts, nightclubs, alcohol can be found almost anywhere. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2019, 70% percent of U.S. adults 18 and older reported that they drank in the past year. Therein lies the combination of availability and social pressure that can also explain how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol. We all most likely know that alcohol consumption can be a social activity, having first hand experience ourselves at some point in our lives. Oftentimes a person may drink because their friends, coworkers, and family are drinking as well. And many people treat alcohol as a reward after an achievement, which builds a positive association with alcohol adding to the problem of addiction. Celebrations, gatherings, holidays are all prevalent places a person will encounter alcohol and in fact- alcohol is most often the highlight and star of the show! Alcohol is often featured at events, such as weddings for example, and used to celebrate “toastings” in celebration. In one study mentioned by Drinkware, a third of adult drinkers admitted drinking more than they intended because of the encouragement of others. While similarly, two-fifths of adult drinkers socializing with work colleagues felt too much pressure to drink. With such immense pressure from society, understanding how important alcohol is to you and your enjoyment of life is a critical realization each of us needs to be real with.

The Relationship Of Alcohol And Mental Health Symptoms

It is important to understand that there is a strong link between being addicted to alcohol and mental health disorders. Also known as dual diagnosis, this relationship is between a person that has both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. In fact, these conditions occur together frequently with over forty percent of those addicted to alcohol also having a mental health disorder. The interactions of the two conditions can worsen both, helping to explain how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol if already experiencing a mental health disorder. Those individuals who have untreated anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, childhood trauma, or PTSD have a higher risk of being addicted to alcohol because they may self-medicate with alcohol. Self-medicating with alcohol can make a person want to drink more and more, therefore leading to alcohol addiction. Our mind, our brain, is most often at the core of our experienced problems. Understanding it, and taking the steps and actions to support it can have life changing effects. If you or a loved one are understanding how easy it is to be addicted to alcohol in your own life, seek the help needed today. 


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