Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease associated with obsessive alcohol drinking, losing control over alcohol consumption, and the emergence of negative emotions when liquor is no longer available. This condition progresses over time, so one does not suddenly become addicted to alcohol. However, when someone surrenders to the grip of alcohol addiction, it becomes challenging to quit on their own. So, understanding how alcohol addictions develop can help to shed light on why they are so hard to beat and overcome.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Develop?
Alcohol strongly impacts the brain, producing pleasurable and blunting negative feelings. Unfortunately, these feelings can motivate someone to drink alcohol repeatedly. For instance, research shows that drinking to cope with stress may temporarily relieve emotional discomfort but enhance negative emotional states.
These changes can encourage further drinking. As individuals continue to consume alcohol, changes may occur in the function and structure of their brains. These changes can affect brain function and push the transition from controlled use to chronic misuse, which can be challenging to control. With continuous heavy alcohol use, addiction develops.
How Alcohol Addiction Progresses
Addiction can be framed to involve three stages. An individual can go through this three-stage cycle for weeks or months. Anyone can enter the cycle of addiction through the following stages:
A person experiences the rewarding impacts of substance abuse during this stage. Constant activation of the basal ganglia’s reward system supports alcohol drinking and increases the chance of repeated consumption.
This constant activation of the basal ganglia also triggers changes in how an individual reacts to stimuli associated with alcohol. Over time, these stimuli can trigger urges to drink more alcohol.
Negative Affect/Withdrawal Stage
When an addict stops drinking alcohol, they experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be emotional (emotional pain, anxiety, dysphoria, and irritability) and physical (feelings of illness, pain, and sleep disturbances).
The negative feelings and emotions associated with alcohol withdrawal come from two sources. First, reduced activation in the reward systems makes it challenging for people to experience the pleasures of everyday living. Second, increased activation of the brain’s stress systems in the extended amygdala contributes to irritability, anxiety, and unease.
At this stage, the individual consumes alcohol for the pleasurable effects but to escape the feelings to which regular alcohol consumption has contributed.
At this stage, an individual becomes obsessed with alcohol and tries to get more. As a result, the prefrontal cortex– the part of the brain responsible for a function is compromised.
How To Get Help for Alcohol Addiction
Overcoming alcohol addiction is no easy feat, but it is possible. With the proper support, you or your loved one can be on your way to a new and vibrant life. Here at Northbound, we can provide you with the care you deserve to overcome your addiction in our Orange County alcohol rehab.
Call us today at 866-311-0003 for alcohol rehab in Orange County, and we will help you beat your addiction.