Photo symbolizing being inside the mind of alcoholic

Inside the Mind of an Alcoholic

Alcohol use disorders are complex mental health and behavioral conditions. They can cause lasting physical and psychological damage to the person with the disorder while simultaneously impacting those around them. To help you understand how alcohol affects you, our alcohol rehab center, Promises, takes a look inside the mind of an alcoholic. Contact us at 844.875.5609 to learn more.  

Alcohol and the Mind: The Damage Alcohol Causes to the Brain 

The first factor that you need to understand is that an alcohol use disorder is a disease, like any other. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or don’t have enough willpower—it means you’re ill. Why? Because your brain slowly begins working against you.  

Alcohol use brings pleasure, working to decrease inhibitions, offering relaxation, and making you feel good. Your brain is designed to encourage you to repeat actions that bring pleasure. So when alcohol floods your system with dopamine and gives you that “buzz,” it immediately registers drinking as something you need to do again. This leads to cravings.  

Something else to remember is that alcohol is a complex substance that affects the brain in a way that differs from other drugs. Not only does it spike dopamine production, but it also affects other neurotransmitters, including the following: 

  • Adrenaline – leading to stimulating effects 
  • Endorphins – producing a “high” and diminishing pain 
  • GABA – encouraging relaxation and drowsiness  
  • Glutamate – causing slurred speech and memory issues 
  • Norepinephrine – leading to stimulating effects 

Alcohol affects many areas of the brain, including those that control movement, speech, judgment, and memory.  

Long-term alcohol abuse changes the brain’s structure. Your brain begins to depend on alcohol for dopamine production. So if you stop drinking, your dopamine levels will drop. This leads you to seek out alcohol again to feel better.  

It also changes the areas of your brain that deal with decision-making and impulse control. This is why simply trying to stop drinking out of sheer willpower is almost impossible.  

Inside the Mind of Alcoholics: The Mental Health Damage Alcohol Causes 

The chemical changes long-term alcohol abuse causes can affect your moods, thoughts, and behaviors. The mind of an alcoholic progressively becomes less balanced, requiring alcohol not just to feel good but just to feel normal.  

Alcohol abuse also has links to depression. It affects the areas of the brain that regulate mood, leading to rapid fluctuations in serotonin. Very high or very low levels of serotonin can both lead to depression.  

Alcohol additionally has the potential to cause or worsen anxiety. At first, drinking can seem to help with anxiety. But because it wreaks havoc on brain chemicals, the symptoms will worsen when the effects of the alcohol wear off.  

In the most severe cases, alcohol can also cause psychosis, leading you to experience hallucinations and paranoia. 

Helping Your Mind Heal With Substance Use Disorder Treatment 

Inside the mind of an alcoholic, there isn’t the balance necessary to lead a happy and healthy life. If you have trouble getting through your days without alcohol—or if you find yourself experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking—you need to turn to an alcohol rehab program.  

Our team is here to offer medical detox services, residential treatment, and outpatient services to get you back on track. With a variety of therapeutic modalities, we can help you uncover the cause of the addiction so you can get the right level of help.  

Alcohol and the Mind: Reach Out to Promises’ Alcohol Rehab Center 

You don’t have to struggle with alcohol addiction and the impacts it has on your brain. By taking the first crucial step of asking for help, you can get the care you need at our center. Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about our treatment options.

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