The study done to check out the environmental and genetic factor related to the alcohol addiction showed how the alcohol was an addictive substance and even mice, given it several times, preferred alcohol to water.
This study was a prime example of the addictive qualities of alcohol on any species and the phases of addiction monitored.
Why Alcohol Is Addictive
In the study of mice, there were several factors that proved why alcohol was addictive. Some of these were genetic and others environmental but the main factor were the effect of alcohol on the brain. The study found that the use of alcohol actually modified the dopamine levels of the brain. Dopamine is a natural “feel good” chemical made by the brain. When a person does something good for their bodies they get an extra boost of it. The reason why alcohol modifies this is because when taken into the body it travels to the brain and give it an extra boost of synthetic dopamine.
After the alcohol wears off it takes the brain some time to readjust the dopamine levels leaving the individual feeling depressed. The quickest way to feel good again is with more alcohol. The more the person uses the more the dopamine receptors become blocked. Mentally this is how an addiction is born taking away the physical effects of alcohol that go with it.
The Alcohol Problem
Whether given to mice or humans alcohol has proven itself to be addictive. Right now there are 17 million people in the United States alone who struggle with alcoholism [ref: United States National Library of Medicine]. The substance has been used for centuries in not only social settings but in religious circles, as a cultural mechanism and medically. Although some can use alcohol responsibly it remains one of the most abused substances in existence.
Even though the legal drinking age is 21 in the United States, more than 50% of senior high students use alcohol on a monthly basis. The substance contributes to accidents, alcohol poisoning and even death. It is it broken down the reason for this is abuse and addiction.
Phases of Alcohol Addiction
There are several distinct phases of alcohol addiction that nearly every person goes through for alcohol to become a problem in their life. These include:
1. Alcohol is seen as a solution to a life problem. This could be as simple as bordom or as severe as a loss or death of a loved one.
2. The alcohol seems to solve the problem, numb the pain or temporarily postpone the boredom.
3. Because the alcohol worked it becomes valuable to the person and they use it again.
4. Cravings begin where they want to drink more and more.
5. Tolerance develops where they have to drink more and more for the same alcohol effect.
6. Now addiction to alcohol starts; the person loses control. They need alcohol to function and can’t stop drinking.
7. The onset of physical withdrawal begins. It becomes impossible to stop drinking.
8. At this point the person needs some type of intervention before they end up losing their life.
Narconon International a management organization for the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation network deals with helping people struggling with alcoholism every day. No matter what studies are done the facility has seen the very distinct phases of addiction mentioned above and has intervened and helped many addicts with rehabilitation.
For more information on Narconon schools or to get help for a loved one call 800-556-8885.