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Where Does Alcohol Dependency Occur In The Brain?

Alcohol dependency is a gradual process that becomes and can remain a real, physiological, deep addiction. So much so, that doctors and rehabilitation professionals will almost always fundamentally discourage a cold-turkey approach to sobriety, as this can have a devastating effect on the body that has become primed to live with such a dependency.

Hope is at hand, though. With proper care and support, and a timeline of recovery that remains realistic, you’ll see that alcohol dependency, like any habit, can be overcome. One of the most fundamental elements of achieving this involves understanding your dependency, including how it works, how it’s been affecting you, and what deconstructive efforts are required in order to change your habitual actions.

Alcohol keeps your dopamine levels artificially high.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter often associated with feelings of happiness, reward, and satisfaction. This is mostly found when high levels are present. In a stable, healthy brain, dopamine tends to level out and increase during the natural risk/reward process our evolution has designed us to follow, inspiring us to complete tasks, and serve our fundamental survival needs.

Alcohol triggers an artificial increase of dopamine in the brain which is why many feel happy and jovial when under its initial effects. However, as tolerance and dependence develops, the brain has to adjust to unusually high levels of dopamine exposure, which can ultimately reduce your natural dopamine sensitivity over time, requiring increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve. Without it, harsh withdrawal symptoms will occur.

But what part of the brain will alcohol consumption affect?

The Medulla, which is the part of the brain responsible for your automatic functions such as regulating your body temperature, breathing naturally, and managing your wakefulness throughout the day, will be depressed by alcohol consumption. This can be life-threatening.

The Cerebellum is your center of balance, coordination, and even movement. The reason that most people stagger and find it difficult to walk straight after partaking in heavy consumption of alcohol is that this area of the brain is impaired. Some long-term alcohols develop shaking symptoms, particularly in their hands, and this is why.

The Cerebral Cortex is where all of our higher-executive thinking takes place – some people consider this the brain area that separates us from the animals. Humans have, far and above, the largest cerebral cortex on the planet. Unfortunately, alcohol also depresses this functionality, which is why our judgment, decision-making, and long-term thinking is often tremendously affected when drinking. For some people, this can cause conflict in public, making risk decisions in managing their sexual wellbeing, and will find it hard to remain financially responsible. 

Treatment is possible.

Luckily, with the Robert Alexander Center for recovery, help is more than possible to achieve. Our stellar treatments options are second to none, as our detoxification services work to help you find sobriety in the most managed and responsible manner.

With our intensive outpatient programs, this process can be more convenient depending on your needs. Many have found success with our program.

Contact us today for more information!

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