Excessive drinking unleashes larger amounts of dopamine. This relationship oftentimes triggers alcohol addiction. Understanding the relationship between alcohol and dopamine highlights the dangers of excessive alcohol drinking. If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, admission into an alcohol detox center in Kemah, TX is the first step towards lasting alcohol addiction recovery.
What is Dopamine?
Before exploring the relationship between alcohol and dopamine, let’s consider what dopamine is. Dopamine is a brain chemical that helps move messages between nerve cells.
The chemical is released when something good happens to you, especially when it happens unexpectedly. This could be a plate of delicious food or seeing someone you’re attracted to. Harvard University says that dopamine also plays a role in motor control, memory and learning, as well as conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease. Because it reflects activity in the pleasure sector of the brain, it’s easy to see why alcohol and dopamine play a role in alcohol-use disorders.
Alcohol and Dopamine
Researchers believe excessive alcohol consumption alters the messages that jump from one nerve cell to another in connection with the release of dopamine. As Harvard University puts it in a separate paper, “addiction hijacks the brain” by teaching the brain to anticipate or expect the rush that comes from a drink. The brain begins to “want” the alcohol and leads to cravings.
The understanding of this mechanism guided doctors to change how they thought about addiction. For years it was viewed as a personal weakness. Instead, it’s now seen as a chemical disorder – an illness of the brain, like an illness of any other organ.
Addiction creates further problems by overwhelming the brain. Over time, a person needs to drink more and more to get the same response. This is how drinking transitions its way into tolerance and physical dependence. Overcome physical dependence to alcohol at an inpatient rehab center in Oklahoma City, OK
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol use or abuse is widespread, with an estimated one in four adults reporting at least one episode of heavy drinking over the past year. That doesn’t necessarily capture the full scope. Close to 90 percent of adults over the age of 18 reported that they have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Among adults, an estimated 14 million Americans are classified as suffering an alcohol-use disorder — with men outnumbering women by more than two to one.
Signs of alcohol abuse appear in how you live. They can include:
- Risky behaviors, such as driving while drunk
- Anti-social behavior
- Excessive time drinking
- Drinking even though it causes problems
- Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating or shaking
Alcohol addiction can have grave consequences. If you notice these behaviors in a loved one, get them the help they need at an alcohol rehab center in Oklahoma City, OK.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs
An inpatient alcohol rehab center provides dual diagnosis alcohol addiction treatment in Kemah, TX for the physical symptoms of alcohol addiction, and the underlying co-occurring mental health disorders contributing to your alcohol addiction. Upon your admission into an inpatient alcohol rehab center in Kemah, TX, the addiction treatment staff will conduct a mental health assessment to compile a personalized alcohol addiction treatment plan based on the unique co-occurring mental health disorders contributing to your alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction treatment programs and alcohol addiction therapy programs in Oklahoma City at an inpatient alcohol rehab center in Kemah, TX include:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
- dialectical behavior therapy
- partial hospitalization program
Restore the Balance
One of the dangers of alcohol and dopamine or other substance abuse disorders is the impact on mental health. People with substance abuse problems are prone also to struggles with anxiety, depression or other mental illness problems. That’s a situation referred to as a “dual-diagnosis disorder.” Dual diagnoses require specialized attention through integrated treatment plans. If you feel like the impact of alcohol and dopamine has converged with mental illness, consider seeking dual diagnosis addiction treatment. The goal is to help a person address both their substance abuse issues and mental health issues at the same time, leading a happier, more successful, stable life.