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Why is Alcohol Addictive?

120 billion dollars. That accounts for the total beer and liquor sales in the United States last year. Needless to say alcohol is popular with Americans. But as we have documented here, there are a myriad of troubles that accompany heavy drinking. But why is alcohol addictive when we know the consequences can be so dire? Science tells us that it all has to do with endorphins, sociology tells it has to do with social behaviors.

Science Explains Why Alcohol Is Addictive

Science Explains Why Alcohol is Addicting
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Endorphins are the natural, feel good opioids in the brain. Endorphins are associated with reward and processing functions. And this a reason why alcohol is addictive. Heavy drinkers respond to alcohol differently than most people.

Everyone releases endorphins when they drink alcohol, but heavy drinkers tend to release more endorphins when drinking. This causes the individual to associate drinking alcohol with a heightened sense of pleasure. It also causes the individual to feel a higher level of intoxication than a lighter drinker, despite drinking the same amount of alcohol.

Social Pressures for Drinking

There is always social pressure to drink
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The scientific reasoning of heightened sense of pleasure falls right in line with social pressures. Our everyday lives expose us to many different opportunities to drink alcohol. Occasions like client lunches, company happy hours, weekend parties, and weddings (to name a few) tend to involve drinking alcohol. This can leave us feeling like we have to drink to be social.

Over time, this relentless social pressure can lead to natural expectations of drinking in almost every type of scenario.  Coupled with the suspected physiological increase in endorphins, what started as casual drinking can lead to greater drinking. Sometimes destructive drinking.

Dr. Raymond Anton of the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina was quoted as saying:

“People drink for different reasons, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another.”

While this statement was not made in connection with Prominence Treatment Center, it does offer validation to our method of alcohol addiction treatment.

We have said many times that our focus is on the individual, not the addiction. Each person is different and alcohol addiction treatment should reflect the individuals’ needs. Therefore, our treatment programs are designed around why YOU are addicted to alcohol. Not why everyone else is addicted to alcohol.

Alcohol addiction can affect anyone. Because alcohol is legal and much easier to obtain than drugs like cocaine and heroin, people forget that it can be addictive and destructive. Alcohol can be just as dangerous as harder, intravenous drugs. So be careful when consuming alcohol. If you feel that you might have a problem with alcohol, feel free to talk to one of our reps, who can help you discuss your drinking habits.

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