Why Is Alcohol Addictive? Plus Signs That You May Be Struggling With Alcoholism

You’ve found yourself at yet another dull party, and the boring conversation has your eyes drifting toward the punch bowl. You have a family history of alcoholism, however, and worry that one indulgent drink might trigger a lifetime of addiction. Is a single wild night enough to trigger a problem?

The answer to that personal conundrum begins with another question: why is alcohol addictive?

We’ve created this guide to help you better understand the causes of alcohol addiction. We’ll discuss how alcohol works and what it does to the brain and body during intoxication. You’ll also learn what addiction looks like and when to seek help.

Read on to learn about the addictive properties of alcohol.

Why Is Alcohol Addictive?

Many things happen in the human brain when a person consumes alcohol. Primarily, the brain releases feel-good chemicals called dopamine and endorphins, which cause the happy, relaxed feeling we associate with a buzz. These substances also act as natural painkillers and can literally numb your body and emotions, providing temporary relief.

How Is Alcohol Addictive?

Brains are organic systems, and no two are alike. Two individuals can consume identical drinks and experience distinct effects. Some brains may dispense more dopamine than others, making drinking a profoundly pleasant and comfortable experience.

Alcohol itself can also impact your ability to control your impulses, making it hard to make rational decisions. Given the option, most individuals will choose to do what makes them feel good. Thus, genetic factors, brain chemistry, plus the effects of alcohol itself cause addictive tendencies.

How Addictive Is Alcohol? 

It’s difficult to use a number or percentage to describe how addictive alcohol can be. We know that alcohol addiction is more common than drug addiction, regardless of substance. About one in twelve Americans struggle with alcohol addiction today.

Is Alcoholism an Addiction or a Disease?

Many individuals experience guilt when they develop alcoholism. They may believe that their addiction is their own fault.

In fact, alcohol addiction is technically a disease. Diseases are problems or malfunctions that impact one or more bodily organs. Thus, alcoholism is a disease of the brain.

Luckily, doctors and specialists treat diseases, and alcoholism is no exception. If you’re struggling with addiction, alcohol addiction treatment is out there.

Alcoholism Addiction Treatment

Many individuals begin their journey toward wellness at an alcohol treatment center. There, you’ll receive detox support, plus group and individual therapy. You’ll become part of a recovery community and gain encouragement from others struggling with substance addiction.

Treatment might be right for you if you cannot control your level of alcohol use. If drinking has impacted your social life, put you in high-risk situations, or caused problems at work, home, or school, it’s time to pursue sobriety.

So, Why Is Alcohol So Addictive?

The reward centers in our brain respond to dopamine and endorphins for a reason. The answer to “why is alcohol addictive?” concerns the ways your brain uses these systems. If you’re struggling to feel joy and enthusiasm without the aid of alcohol, it’s time to reclaim your life.

Your journey toward wellness is just beginning. Browse the rest of the blog for more lifestyle posts that can help you pursue your healthiest, happiest life.