What Neurobiological and Psychological Processes Make Alcohol So Addictive?

What Neurobiological and Psychological Processes Make Alcohol So Addictive?

Why Is Alcohol Addictive?

Do you have someone suffering from alcohol addiction? Then keep reading as we answer the question, "Why is alcohol addictive?"

Keyword(s): why is alcohol addictive

Alcohol. It is a substance that people tend to have a good time consuming. However, others can't quite control it. 

There are 29.5 million people in the United States that have alcohol use disorder. 

Why is alcohol addictive? Why is alcohol addiction a serious issue? 

This guide answers those questions and more. 


One thing that people think alcohol can help with is socializing. There are a few key reasons for this. 

The first reason is that alcohol tends to make people feel generally more relaxed. As a result, people may feel more comfortable saying what is on their mind and socializing with more people. 

Some people are either very shy or possess a high amount of anxiety while they are sober. As a result, these people tend to use alcohol as a social lubricant. 

While this can be good initially, it can also backfire. The more alcohol that you drink, the less of a filter that you tend to have. As a result, you can either say something that upsets somebody around you or start saying things that make absolutely no sense. 

Even if it does go well initially with socializing, people who rely on this risk growing a dependency on alcohol for socializing. 


Another thing you need to watch out for is how much alcohol can impact your dopamine levels. When you first start drinking alcohol, you may feel a rush that goes to your head. 

This is the dopamine taking action because this tends to be part of our body that reacts to something pleasurable. Alcohol starts as pleasurable for the mind and as a result, a large dopamine rush happens. 

However, the catch to this is that alcohol can change the dopamine signaling in your body. 

For example, let's say that you initially only needed two beers to feel a buzz from it. When you start to drink alcohol more often, your body adapts to it. As a result, dopamine signaling can be affected and two beers may no longer be enough for you to get that feeling. 

After a while, your dopamine signals can become numb. As a result, it can take more and more alcohol to satisfy you compared to when you first started. 

Unfortunately, this also means that your body can grow more and more dependent on alcohol. It can even mean that you experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop. This is when alcohol starts to feel like a need more than a desire. 

Why Is Alcohol Addictive? 

So, why is alcohol addictive? There are three big factors that you should be aware of. 

Alcohol tends to be used as a social lubricant for those who are either shy or experience a high level of social anxiety. As a result, they can grow dependent on this "lubricant." 

Then, you need to consider the dopamine signaling in your body along with withdrawal symptoms. 

Luckily, Alcoholics Anonymous is here to help. Take a look at some of our recovery chips here.