This is the addictive effect of alcohol

In today's society, the consumption of alcohol is something habitual that is part of everyday life, a glass of wine in the food, some canes after work, etc. Alcohol becomes one of the key elements of our social life, and moderate consumption is common. However, alcohol is a harmful substance for the organism of great addictive capacity, whose high consumption has serious consequences for the health of the individual.

Alcohol consumption: this is how it affects us

The consumption of alcohol is something frequent and well seen in today's society. When alcohol is consumed, alterations occur in our body, and it affects certain areas of the brain, consuming alcohol at first can make us feel well and relaxed.

- Alcohol consumption leads to the release of dopamine It is associated with the feeling of well-being and activates the reward circuit of the brain. At first drinking alcohol makes us feel good.

- The intake of alcohol has a depressant effectIn the central nervous system, which makes the cells of the nervous system work slower than usual.

. The functioning of the limbic system, related to emotions such as fear and anxiety, it becomes slower and therefore at first, the person experiences some relief in relation to those emotions.

- In addition, it has direct effects on the prefrontal cortex, responsible for inhibitory control and cognitive abilities, such as reasoning and judgment. Therefore, alcohol intake disinhibits and alters common sense, the perception of risk is altered, the behavior becomes impulsive, and can put us in danger.

At first, the consumption of alcohol, when the dose is moderate or low, causes feelings of well-being, and "apparently" improves our emotional state and allows us to relate better, given its disinhibiting effect. But, as the intake increases, so do the effects and what, initially, seemed positive, becomes something negative, the disinhibiting effect can lead to dangerous behaviors, it also alters the character and reasoning ability and of judgment. When consumption is very high we stop being ourselves and may lose consciousness in the case of serious poisonings.

The addictive effect of alcohol

Alcohol has serious consequences for health, which go beyond the effects of a drunkenness. When drinking becomes a habit, in a need, we can talk about an addictive pathology, and then, alcohol can dominate the person and change his life completely.

The addictive power of alcohol is very great:

- From the biological point of view, Alcohol activates the reward circuit of the brain. Drinking makes us feel good and when alcohol disappears from the body a rebound effect appears that is associated with a feeling of discomfort and low mood, which pushes us to want to drink to feel better again.

- From the psychological and social point of view, drinking is not frowned upon, it is an accepted behavior, and it is even associated with positive social situations. This increases the "well-being" effect that is associated with alcohol consumption, so that the intake behavior is also socially reinforced.

The addictive power of alcohol is very strong and its abstinence is very hard and dangerous.

When has alcohol become a problem?

Alcohol consumption is common and it is often difficult to realize a problematic use. Most people would define their consumption as normal and without risk, although this is not the case, how can we know that alcohol consumption has become a problem? What are the symptoms that alert us to possible addictive behavior?

- There is an impulsive and irrepressible need to consume alcohol. You need to consume alcohol to alleviate your anxiety, there are thoughts that justify this need and consumption "if I drink I have a better time" "I can control it, I do not need it, but I like it", "everyone drinks", etc.

- This need can draw the attention of the people nearby and leads to the person drinking in secret to avoid reproaches or sermons.

- Consumption ceases to be a social consumption, the person drinks alone to feel better.

- When alcohol is not consumed, there is a withdrawal syndrome that involves physical discomfort, anxiety, restlessness, etc.

- Other habits of the person are affected, their ability to concentrate and their performance is altered, as well as family, social and work problems.

Effects of prolonged alcohol consumption

Overconsumption and prolonged use of alcohol is a serious illness that is known as alcoholism. It is a very strong addiction that is not easy to overcome. The consequences of alcohol consumption are:

- In the nervous system:

- Altera brain functions, affecting reasoning and judgment, and even motor control: mood swings, mental slowness, difficulty speaking, blurred or double vision, loss of balance and coordination, etc.

- Alters the action of neurotransmitters and can lead to mood disorders.

- There is serious damage to brain cells that is irreversible.

- It produces amnesia and difficulties for concentration.

- It is associated with sleep disorders.

- In the body: 

- Causes alterations and serious diseases: alters liver function, cardiovascular functions, causes obesity, impairs intestinal function, etc.

- At a social and personal level, alcoholism has serious consequences, in the most serious cases serious deterioration occurs in personal and family relationships, loss of employment, etc.

Celia Rodríguez Ruiz. Clinical health psychologist. Specialist in pedagogy and child and youth psychology. Director of Educa and Learn. Author of the collection Stimulate Reading and Writing Processes.

Video: Alcohol and the Female Brain

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