Alcohol probably plays an oversized role in our lives. Most major events involve adult beverages in some fashion. For most people, those moments go by without any consequence. But not for everyone.
Alcohol, for some, becomes an addiction, based on interactions between alcohol and the brain. The consequences of alcohol abuse can be severe on the individual, families, and society.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. Alcohol treatment has an excellent track record in turning lives around.
4 Ways Alcohol Impacts the Brain
As we all know, it isn’t hard to spot someone who has had too much to drink. They might be unsteady on their feet, slurring their words, showing an uncharacteristic lack of inhibitions or other personality changes. Here are four main ways that alcohol impacts the brain:
- Moments of depression. Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, and when it goes beyond a certain point, it can lead to moments of darkness.
- Euphoria. Alcohol initially triggers a brain chemical that makes people feel excited and happy. Unfortunately, that feeling soon wears off.
- Clumsiness. With enough quantity, alcohol can interfere with motor skills. That’s why police who stop you on suspicion of drunk driving may ask you to walk a straight line.
- Confusion. In extreme cases, alcohol can cause memory loss. That’s the condition that people describe as the “blackout” phase.
Alcohol and the brain are in constant interaction. It’s good to remember that the more your drink, the more severe the reactions are.
What is Alcoholism?
In terms of alcohol and the brain, you might wonder when you’ve reached the stage of alcoholism. The truth is alcoholism doesn’t relate to how much you drink. It is a condition measured by what alcohol does to your life.
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, happens when someone continues to drink despite the personal, legal, professional, or health problems it causes. When a person reaches that stage, alcohol has now reconfigured their brain function. The brain believes it cannot function normally without alcohol.
Unfortunately, you can’t just stop drinking and expect things to go back to normal. When you do, the brain thinks something is wrong and triggers withdrawal.
Withdrawal shows up in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, or other physical symptoms. It’s usually a sign that it’s time to seek help from a rehab facility such as Northern Illinois Recovery Center.
Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder
Everyone has a different journey through alcohol abuse. Based on your circumstances, doctors will design an individualized treatment plan. But you can expect to go through the following stages:
- Intake/assessment to establish how healthy you are mentally and physically.
- Planning, where doctors build a comprehensive treatment plan.
- Detox, where you “step down” your level of drinking gradually as doctors monitor your withdrawal.
- Counseling, involving meetings with therapists to discuss the circumstances of your addiction and better ways to cope with stress
- Aftercare, which consists of resources that lower the risk of a relapse.
Alcohol and the brain and how they interact can trigger severe problems. Treatment can help put them to a stop.
Help for Alcohol Abuse at Northern Illinois Recovery Center
For some, drinking is a habit. For others, alcohol not only defines them but overwhelms them. That’s when you need the help of the Northern Illinois Recovery Center. We provide drug, alcohol, and process addiction treatment along with care for co-occurring disorders. Located northwest of Chicago, our team specializes in all forms of outpatient care, including partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient treatment programs, and more. We also offer specialized programs such as DUI rehab. Focused on the latest in evidence-based care, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that considers your entire set of needs — medical, psychological, social, familial, and more. Our clients come to us expecting to receive comfort and support at a high-stress period of their lives. Don’t let alcohol ruin your life. Reach a counselor at Northern Illinois Recovery Center by calling 855.786.1978 today for an initial consultation.