Alcohol is the most popular drug in the world. It’s a social lubricant, an aphrodisiac, and an appetite suppressant. But what does the psychology of alcohol actually tell us? When you drink alcohol, you may feel more confident, relaxed, and sociable – at least until the next morning. In reality, however, drinking too much actually increases your chances of having a bad hangover or committing suicide. Here are some ways to ponder what we know about alcohol’s effect on our minds.
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What Does Alcohol Actually Do to Our Body?
Alcohol has been around for at least 9000 years since it was discovered as a method of purifying water. Humans have always found alcohol to be pleasurable. However, as with any substance, drinking too much is not only dangerous but also hinders your mental health and causes long-term damage.
When you drink, alcohol gets into your bloodstream and permeates the sites in your brain that influence mood and the decision-making process. This includes areas such as the amygdala, which is responsible for regulating emotions like fear and aggression; the hippocampus, which controls memory formation; and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which regulates thinking processes like judgment and problem-solving skills.
Alcohol has a high affinity for binding to proteins in these three areas – more than anything else in our bodies except oxygen – meaning that it has a greater effect on them than on other organs. The effects of alcohol vary by individual but can include paranoia, nausea, or confusion depending on the level of intoxication.
The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Alcohol is a depressant drug that affects the central nervous system. When we drink alcohol, it can slow down our thinking, increase our chances of having a bad hangover or committing suicide.
Alcohol affects your brain in two ways: in the short-term and long-term. In the short-term, drinking too much will feel like it has many benefits such as increasing confidence, relaxation, and sociability – at least until you wake up the next morning. However, alcohol has negative effects on your brain as well because it slows down your thinking and increases your chances of having a bad hangover.
In the long-term, drinking too much actually decreases happiness since it changes how you think and feel about things. In fact, regular drinkers are more likely to have depression than those who don’t drink alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about one-third of people with major depression also have an alcohol use disorder. And if you’re an A12 type personality (very outgoing), you may be more likely to commit suicide than those who don’t drink alcohol.
Alcohol and Mental Health
Alcohol can have a negative effect on mental health. It can make you lose your inhibitions, which may lead you to do risky things like drinking and driving, or other risky behavior. Alcohol can also increase your chances of developing an addiction to alcohol. If someone has an addiction to alcohol, they are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
On the other hand, many people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol say that it helps them feel less anxious and stress-free. Drinking a little bit at a time is seen as safer than having several drinks in one sitting. As with everything else in life, moderation is the key for most people when it comes to drinking alcohol.
Alcohol and Violence
One of the most well-known effects of alcohol is its tendency to increase aggression. It’s thought that more than 50 percent of all robberies and assaults are committed when one or both perpetrators have been drinking. Alcohol also lowers inhibitions, which may make us more likely to engage in reckless behavior, like driving under the influence of alcohol. One study found that nearly three-fourths of test subjects who were driving illegally had a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08, the legal limit for intoxication.
Alcohol affects the brain in many ways and can lead to mental health problems. Heavy drinkers are at risk for developing an addiction, memory problems, depression, and thoughts of suicide among many other conditions.
Alcohol chemically interacts with the brain to change its function. For example, alcohol can reduce the number of neurotransmitters released. This can lead to problems with mood, thinking, and coordination. Chronic heavy drinking can cause permanent damage to the brain.
Alcohol also changes how the brain works by altering its structure. The hippocampus is one part of the brain that is especially vulnerable to damage from chronic alcohol use. This part of the brain is involved in memory and learning. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to problems with memory and learning.
People who drink heavily are also at risk for developing depression. Depression is a mental health condition that is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. People who are depressed may also have thoughts of suicide.
Alcohol can also lead to addiction. Addiction is a condition that is characterized by compulsive drug use and drug-seeking behavior. Alcohol is a type of drug and can be addictive. People who are addicted to alcohol may find it difficult to stop drinking, even if they want to.
Oasis Recovery Is Here For You
Addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with alcohol addiction on your own. We are here to help.