Alcohol is one of the most problematic addictive drugs in America and throughout the world, for many reasons. The substance is culturally important in many societies, and this helps create pressure to drink while also making addiction seem less serious. However, it’s important to only drink responsibly to take care of your health and avoid falling into addictive patterns. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can come with many negative health and social consequences, and it’s all because of the physiological and psychologically addictive qualities of alcohol.
Addiction is a state of physical dependence where the body now needs the substance just to function normally. This takes effect in the brain and nervous system, which manifests as an intense, compulsive desire to drink as well as notable negative symptoms if you cease. This is what people mean when they refer to addiction hijacking the brain, although different drugs produce dependency in different ways. Alcohol is addictive because of the way it depresses nervous system function, as prolonged abuse forces your body to compensate.
How Alcohol Fosters Addiction
There are numerous reasons why alcohol is so addictive. From the physiological perspective, your body compensates for constant, low-level alcohol presence in the blood by increasing nervous system function. Furthermore, alcohol exposure releases reward chemicals in the brain, which creates another avenue for addiction. Whenever a person with alcohol dependency doesn’t drink, they can begin experiencing mild negative symptoms in as little as two hours. If they continue to abstain, their nervous system can become overactive to the point they suffer seizures.
However, the psychological dimension of alcohol addiction is also significant. As alcohol slows brain function and releases endorphins, it’s a common coping mechanism for trauma and hardship. In this way, a person can develop a compulsive relationship with alcohol consumption even before they experience physical dependence. The cultural acceptance of alcohol enables this further, as it makes it easy to seek out opportunities to drink to excess in a social setting.
What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol
When you stop drinking alcohol, you begin to experience strong negative symptoms that can last from a few days to a week. The exact timetable varies, as light drinkers may be through the worst of their addiction after one to three days. On the other hand, a heavy drinker’s body may take a week or more to really start recovering from addiction and overcome the worst of withdrawals. However, cravings and negative symptoms can persist for weeks and months to come. With a good treatment center, you can get through this period and build healthy coping mechanisms to replace alcohol in your life.
Get Help with Hickory Treatment Centers
At Hickory Treatment Centers, we’re dedicated to helping people overcome the blight of alcohol addiction. We’re an understanding, compassionate team who understands the to that addiction takes on people and their families. You’ll be treated with kindness from your first step into the door, and we’ll talk about your needs and priorities to choose the right combination of treatment programs. As a comprehensive source of addiction treatment, we can provide you with medical detox, inpatient rehab, and continued outpatient care to facilitate your recovery. Reach out to Hickory Treatment Centers today to start your journey to recovery.