How Does Someone Develop a Dependence on Alcohol?
Alcohol dependency is not something that happens overnight. People do not choose to be alcoholics by defect of will or imagination. Rather, people who are dependent on alcohol come to their situation through a combination of factors—some of which are genetic. Studies have shown that genes are responsible for half the risk for experiencing alcoholism and addiction.
Though the initial decision is something that is made by an individual, there are several factors that collude to sway the decision. People do not live in vacuums and decisions are a combination of biological, familial, psychological and cultural factors.
When someone first uses alcohol there is a release of dopamine that produces a calming and euphoric sensation. Glutamate is also released when someone drinks and is responsible for storing memories. Overall, the brain has to adjust to the presence of alcohol. In order for the brain to function properly it needs to balance the levels of neurotransmitters—neurotransmitters are small chemicals in the brain that dictate the body’s function. Alcohol seriously threatens the balance sought by the brain and this can lead to drowsiness, loss of coordination, and euphoria.
After continuous exposure to alcohol, the brain begins to rewire and adjust to the chemical changes. The longer alcohol is in someone’s brain, the more the brain looks to make up for its defects. In order for the brain to regain the balance it seeks, neurotransmitters change in order to function properly in the presence of alcohol.
When the brain begins to change in accordance with the presence of alcohol, the symptoms of alcohol dependence start to occur. As the brain is exposed to alcohol in large amounts, over time it will become tolerant to its effects. As a result of tolerance increasing, the drinker is at a greater risk for alcohol dependence.
What Are Signs of Alcohol Dependence
The four signs of alcohol dependence are craving, loss of control, physical dependence and tolerance. Craving is characterized by a mental and physical drive to drink that is almost compulsory. A loss of control happens when someone consistently cannot limit their intake. Physical dependence manifests in withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, anxiety and sweating. The last is tolerance, which is the need to drink more to feel the same effects.
What Are the Signs of Addiction?
When someone is dependent on alcohol their whole existence is changed. There are several things that go with being addicted. Some of the steps are listed below.
Risk Taking: People who are addicted to alcohol are more likely to engage in seriously dangerous behaviors in order to get their fix. This could mean spending large sums of money they do not have or drinking on the job at the risk of being fired. Altogether, there are a lot of potential risk taking endeavors that the addict can engage in to perpetuate his/her alcoholism.
Neglect: When someone is addicted to alcohol they may make getting wasted their number one priority—above other, more important tasks in life. As someone nose dives into addiction they will often neglect their appearance resulting in a general unkempt look that may not be indicative of who they are.
Relationship Problems: Someone who might have been a congenial member of a family could turn into a completely different person under the influence of addiction. They could go from being loving, supportive, and open to being closed off or violent.
These are just a few of the various changes that will occur when a person goes through alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence is a serious issue, but there are definitive ways to get help with it. A Better Today is a great place to begin your journey towards recovery.
End Your Alcohol Dependency with a Better Today
If you are looking to recover from alcohol dependency ABT is a good place to regain yourself. Our facilities are staffed by professionals who have the empathy and expertise to help you recover. The most important thing is your health and ABT is dedicated to joining you in that fight. When you first get admitted you will go through a medical withdrawal process. The detox is one of hardest parts of recovery but it is crucial. After that step you will begin the recovery process where you go to group and individual therapy to address some of the interior issues that trigger you to drink. You deserve to be healthy. If you wish to take the step, call us now: (510) 246-8864