Recognizing Why Alcohol Addiction Happens & What To Do To Start Treatment

Alcohol addiction is extremely difficult to overcome, but that does not mean it can't be done. It takes a lot of strong will and determination, but sometimes, treatment is necessary. First, however, you have to stop being in denial and finally recognize and accept that you have a problem and need help. You may be wondering how on Earth you got yourself into this situation. It has a lot to do with dopamine and how it makes you feel. Here's what you need to know. 

Dopamine & the Mind's Reward System

While alcohol is considered a depressant, it can also act as a stimulant, although indirectly. Alcohol alters the chemistry of the brain by changing the neurotransmitters that control behavior, emotion, and thought processes. Researchers have found that one of the chemicals that increases when drinking alcohol is dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that can give you the feeling of being rewarded. It's the same chemical that gets released when you enjoying time hanging out with friends or getting a huge bonus from your employer. Dopamine makes you feel great. As alcohol increases your dopamine levels, you'll start to feel great no matter how crappy you felt when you started drinking. 

Continual Drinking Diminishes Dopamine Production 

Once you become addicted to feeling great from increased dopamine levels, the effect of dopamine decreases and can sometimes become nonexistent. But by that time, you are already hooked on the feeling of the increased dopamine and continue drinking more and more in hopes that you will have that same great feeling. At the same time, your body builds up a tolerance to alcohol. These things combined can easily have you consuming far more alcohol than you should and only wanting more and more. This is called addiction. 

Recognizing Your Addiction Is the First Step to Treatment 

Now that you have a better understanding of how your addiction happened, the first step to getting treatment is to recognize that you are addicted. Being in denial of an addiction would make it extremely difficult for treatment to help. Treatment is necessary so you can begin to overcome the addiction. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may need help through the use of medication that will suppress the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol, as well as counseling and therapy to help guide your way to living without a dependence on alcohol. Speak with an alcohol addiction treatment center, such as Oasis Behavioral Health & Addiction Services LP, for more information on how they can help you.