Author: James Anderson

What makes alcoholics drink? Research shows it’s more complex than supposed

Why Do Alcoholics Drink

It also puts you at risk of becoming violent or being the victim of violence. The important thing is that we understand our relationship with alcohol, realize where it may not be serving us, and make informed decisions about its presence in our lives. For example, mothers, a frequently targeted group for marketing all products, are now encouraged to share their love for alcohol on t-shirts, mugs, and even children’s clothing.

We don’t realize that there is often a logical reason behind each behavior, disturbed or not. You may need to seek treatment at an inpatient facility if your addiction to alcohol is severe. These facilities will provide you with 24-hour care as you withdraw from alcohol and recover from your addiction. Once you’re well enough to leave, you’ll need to continue to receive treatment on an outpatient basis.

An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you’re concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person. When it comes to the bottom line as it relates to alcohol consumption and brain health, the data are rather solid on some fronts, and a bit less so on others.

Some people, for example, have genes that allow them to metabolize alcohol in a way that increases the pleasure they experience when drinking, making them more likely to drink more. Other people have genes that alter their rate of alcohol metabolism, causing them to have symptoms like flushing, nausea, mood swings, and a rapid heartbeat, making them more likely to avoid alcohol. Conversely, other recent data suggest a lower risk for dementia in people consuming a few alcoholic beverages a day. This includes a 2022 study showing that in around 27,000 people, consuming up to 40 grams of alcohol (around 2.5 drinks) a day was linked to a lower risk for dementia versus abstinence in adults over age 60.

What are the risk factors?

I had to find and get rid of the empty cat food can to solve my cat’s trash can raids. It took me a whole week of headaches before I discovered that a can of emptied cat food had fallen behind the trash can and rolled to the back of the cabinet. The cat had been smelling the fish and thought he would find a feast if he got behind the trash bin. Heavy alcohol use can also cause problems at home, at work, and with friends. What I found particularly interesting about Ms. Whitaker’s book was the way she challenged the cultural acceptance of most forms of drinking, and how societal pressures shape our seemingly independent choices. So why is it so hard to know whether alcohol is good or bad for us—especially for our brains?

If we chose modest consumption, identifying the proper environments and reasons to reach for a drink can feel empowering. Perhaps a glass of wine during a conversation with a friend is a pleasure we want to allow ourselves and helps us feel connected and engaged. Maybe alcohol is celebratory, or a chance to explore new cultures or experiences through taste.

Why Do Alcoholics Drink

They’re cultivated over time through observations and external influences. Think about how often we see people in movies or on TV having a great time with a drink in their hand. These scenes stick with us, associating drinking with fun and friendship. They subtly reinforce our beliefs that alcohol equals good times and pleasure. You can prevent alcohol use disorder by limiting your alcohol intake. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women shouldn’t drink more than one drink per day, and men shouldn’t drink more than two drinks per day.

Impact on your health

We asked them about their alcohol use, reasons for drinking, alcohol-related outcomes, health and more. Alcohol use disorder can cause serious and lasting damage to your liver. Your liver is responsible for removing toxins from your blood. When you drink too much, your liver has a harder time filtering the alcohol and other toxins from your bloodstream. Typically, a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder doesn’t require any other type of diagnostic test. There’s a chance your doctor may order blood work to check your liver function if you show signs or symptoms of liver disease.

There’s also the potential for confounding variables, including the fact that many people like to drink alcohol to enjoy and enhance social bonds (which we know are beneficial for the brain). Here’s a summary of what the most recent research is telling us. People who drink moderately may be able to say no to alcohol. However, someone who struggles with drinking is often unable to act the same way. When someone is addicted to alcohol, drinking becomes a big part of their life, even if they want to stop. This can lead some people to wonder why people who are susceptible to addiction drink.

  1. Many people with alcohol use disorder hesitate to get treatment because they don’t recognize that they have a problem.
  2. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term.
  3. If you are going to drink, it’s important to know how alcohol affects you and how much is too much.
  4. Finding suitable replacements for alcohol as a coping skill can be helpful even if abstinence is not our goal.
  5. Alcohol, then, represents the daily end of responsibility, the party flag beckoning us to relax and have some fun.

If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so early treatment is important. Your doctor or healthcare provider can diagnose alcohol use disorder. They’ll do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits.

Looking to Avoid Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

This means that it is a drug that slows down brain activity. Alcohol can also affect your coordination and physical control. In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy.

How Does Alcohol Impact the Brain?

Typically, alcoholics drink and continue to drink to avoid these unpleasant symptoms. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.