Drinking Alcohol and Dopamine Release

Alcohol is one of the most common widely abused substances in the world. It is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Alcohol affects men and women differently, and we do know that alcoholism is partially genetic.

According to information provided by the National Institute of Health on this, matter, the organization says that:

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 85.6 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 69.5 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 54.9 percent reported that they drank in the past month. In 2019, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 6.3 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month. According to the 2019 NSDUH, 14.1 million adults ages 18 and older (5.6 percent of this age group) had AUD. This includes 8.9 million men( 7.3 percent of men in this age group) and 5.2 million women (4.0 percent of women in this age group). (NIH)

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease that is characterized by uncontrolled drinking and a preoccupation with alcohol. It is also characterized by the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Alcohol use disorder is considered a brain disorder and has three levels: mild, moderate, and severe.

Drinking Alcohol and Dopamine Release

How Does Dopamine Work in the Brain?

A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger that carries signals between your brain and body. Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter in your brain that affects mood and is responsible for reward and reinforcement. Dopamine also plays an important role in how the body experiences pain and pleasure. It is involved in movement and is the chemical that drives us to seek food, sex, exercise, and other activities responsible for our overall well-being and survival.

Low levels of dopamine are what causes motor control loss like in Parkinson’s Disease; it can also cause addictions, cravings, and compulsions. High levels of dopamine can cause hyperactivity and anxiety. Alcohol and drugs can affect the body’s balanced levels of dopamine and flood the brain during a binge of heavy drinking.

The Connection Between Alcohol And Dopamine

Alcohol changes your brain. When a person initially drinks alcohol, their dopamine levels increase. With continued alcohol use, the brain starts to adapt to the increased levels of this dopamine. After some time, it will start producing less and less of the chemical, reduce the number of dopamine receptors in the body, and increase the number of dopamine transporters.

When a person drinks alcohol, their dopamine increases, and so does their mood; it makes them happy. Furthermore, alcohol and drugs cause much higher levels of dopamine to be released which significantly enhances a person’s mood. People with alcoholism will usually consume even more alcohol to boost their dopamine levels.

It is believed that men experience much greater dopamine release with drinking than women do. This could be one of the reasons that men are more susceptible to alcoholism than women are. It is also believed that those people that struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction are more sensitive to dopamine than others. Research suggests that these people have a higher release of dopamine and response to dopamine.

Treatment for Alcoholism or Alcohol Dependence

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Recreate Life Counseling offers evidence-based addiction treatment. Our cutting edge addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Call us today.