What Makes Alcohol So Addictive?
Binge drinking is on the rise. The Associated Press recently did a survey in which they found that one in four American adults between the ages of 18 and 34 binge drink. That said, Dr. Robert Brewer, the head of the alcohol program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that he thinks that is actually an underestimate.
We all know the harmful effects that alcohol can have on our actions, bodies, and lives, especially when consumed in large amounts. So what is it about alcohol that makes it so addictive? What is it that causes so many adults to continually drink it in excess, even when they know the harmful results?
Well, there have been studies conducted that actually help to answer this question.
Alcohol Releases Opioids into our Brains
Researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, SF have made very interesting discoveries with alcohol, and the reason why it is so addictive to us. They found that alcohol promotes the release of opioids, specifically endorphins, into our brains.
These researchers said that, because of animal studies they’ve done, they’ve suspected this for 30 years now. But it wasn’t until more recently that they tested these conclusions on actual human subjects. That was when they found that, when humans drink alcohol, it actually releases these chemicals into our brains. They said that they finally have “the first direct evidence of how alcohol makes people feel good.”
Alcohol Makes us Feel Happy
The researchers asked their test participants how they felt during the study. The more opioids that were released into the brain, the more pleasure they reported experiencing.
So, the researchers were actually able to test and come to a conclusion why alcohol is so addictive: it releases opioids into our brains when we drink it. This makes us feel good. Our brain wants to feel those good feelings more, so it makes us crave even more of the alcohol. Before we know it, we’ve drunk more than we ever planned on.
Our Brains Don’t Know the Consequences
The big problem is, our brain cannot predict the harmful side effects that will come with more alcohol consumption. It just tells us that it wants more of those nice feeling opioids. If we don’t make the conscious decision to stop, our brain won’t know when to. Once our brain receives those great endorphins, it feels the happy, and says it wants more.
We have the ability to have self control; we have the ability to stop. Self control is more than just listening to your brain’s and your body’s impulses. It’s about thinking about the consequences and about knowing when to stop.
Author: Nicole is a guest author for www.gulfcoastdrugrehab.com. They work to help people get off and stay off of drugs. Visit site for more info.
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