Alcohol is a legal substance in almost every country and is commonly used for recreational reasons. Its widespread social acceptance makes it a substance that is quite easy to abuse. Knowing the point at which to seek help is critical in alcohol abuse. This is because alcohol could severely affect the body and brain if used unhinged.
Is Alcohol Addictive?
Yes, alcohol is quite addictive. The reason behind its addictiveness could be attributed to several reasons. We’ll examine two of those reasons in this section.
The Pleasure Factor
According to recent brain research, alcohol causes the release of feel-good opioids known as endorphins. Endorphins are released in two regions of the brain associated with reward processing when drinking alcohol. This feel-good factor that comes with alcohol makes people want to do it again. However, that is not where the addiction comes from.
Addiction starts over time because you must drink a lot more to achieve the same feel-good effects. To achieve greater endorphin release, you have to drink higher volumes, which is the addiction’s origin.
The Sense Numbing Factor
Alcohol is known as a central nervous system depressant which means that alcohol reduces brain activity. It does that by causing the secretion of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the primary brain inhibitory neurotransmitter and causes sense-numbing problems like slurring speech, memory loss/blackouts, or walking difficulties.
Many people prefer to get to this state to “escape” from trauma. However, with continued use, the brain begins to resist the effects of GABA by secreting excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate. This will lead to drinking more volumes to achieve the same numbing results. Once the brain has started secreting glutamate in response to alcohol use, such a person would experience severe withdrawal symptoms like convulsions and tremors.
How Does Alcoholism Affect the Body?
Drinking too much alcohol can be very dangerous for human health. The effects of alcohol on the body can be classified into two categories: short-term health risks and long-term health risks. The short-term health risks include:
- It could cause alcohol poisoning, a severe consequence of drinking too much alcohol quickly.
- It could cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
- It could result in violent acts such as sexual assault, homicide, or suicide.
The long-term health risks include:
- It could cause throat, voice box, breast, colon, and rectum cancer.
- It could cause cognitive problems such as dementia.
- It could lead to mental issues such as anxiety or depression.
What are the Signs of Alcoholism?
With alcohol being a legal substance everywhere, it could be hard to tell at times when it is becoming detrimental to your health. However, with the signs of alcoholism listed below, it should be easier to tell when you need help with your drinking habits.
- Strong Urges to Drink: If you notice frequent urges to down some glasses of alcohol, you might need help with your alcohol habits. In periods of these urges, you might be unable to concentrate on anything else until you get a glass of alcohol.
- Hiding Your Alcohol Habits: Whenever you notice you’ve started hiding your drinking habits from others, so they don’t tell you to stop, there might be a problem.
- Experiencing signs of alcohol withdrawal: Signs of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, rapid breathing, or confusion when staying away from alcohol for too long. If you start to notice any of this, that might be a dangerous sign.
- Stopping important activities to drinking alcohol: Whenever you notice you need to stop school work, office work, or home activities to grab a drink, it could be a sign of alcoholism.
- Developing tolerance for alcohol: If you notice you need larger amounts of alcohol to experience the same effects, that could be a serious sign of alcoholism.
- Unable to stop drinking: If you find it impossible to stop yourself from drinking, that is a sign to seek help.
- Drinking alcohol in risky situations: You might need to consult with someone if you’re using alcohol in situations requiring total concentration, such as driving or swimming.
Grace Recovery is an Alcohol Rehab Center in Los Angeles
Getting professional help is quite essential in alcoholism. Solving these issues on your own could be a hard path to freedom. If you’re in Los Angeles and would like to contact professionals, Grace Recovery is an excellent alcohol rehab center to use.
Whether you require a detox or rehab treatment, Grace Recovery can help you. Also, to help combat the withdrawal symptoms that follow alcohol abstinence, Grace Recovery has proven professionals who can hold your hand every step of the way. So reach out to us today for help with alcoholism signs and symptoms and recover at our drug and alcohol rehab center in Los Angeles.