How do people get addicted to alcohol?

When you think about alcohol addiction or alcohol recovery , you probably think of someone locked away in a rehab center. But the truth is that alcohol addiction is much more common than people realize. There are many people who struggle with handling their intake of alcohol on a regular basis and never progress to alcoholism. However, there is a small percentage of individuals who cannot handle their drinking and have an innate inability to control it. 

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a medical condition caused by a person’s inability to control their drinking. It’s also known as alcohol dependence, addiction or compulsive alcohol abuse. The main difference between alcohol abuse or just excessive drinking and alcoholism is that the former is a behavior that can be controlled while the latter is a physical and mental condition that makes the person incapable of controlling their drinking. What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction? 

– If you feel like you can’t control your drinking, even when you want to. 

– If drinking heavily is interfering with your relationships, work, or health.  

– If you’re experiencing cravings for alcohol when you’re not drinking or in between drinks.

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Genetics and alcohol addiction

Some people are strongly predisposed to become addicted to alcohol. This means that their genes may make them more likely to become addicted to alcohol than other people. There are certain genes that researchers have found may be linked to alcohol addiction and drinking. Some of these include genes related to the way your brain processes dopamine.

Peer pressure and social environments

One of the most significant factors that determines whether you’ll become addicted to alcohol is your peer group. If you’re in an environment where drinking is the norm, you’re much more likely to drink regularly and heavily. When you’re young, you have a lot of free time and don’t have many responsibilities. This can make it easy to get caught up in alcohol-related social activities, even if you’re underage. This can make you particularly susceptible to peer pressure, which can make you drink more than you’re comfortable with. 

Depression and anxiety disorders

Depression and anxiety often lead to people self-medicating with alcohol because it can make you feel better temporarily. This is a very dangerous road to go down, however, as it can easily lead to an addiction. It can also make your depression and anxiety much worse, as alcohol is not a long-term solution for either of these conditions. It’s best if you seek out professional help for your depression or anxiety, as well as help for your alcohol addiction. You can attend therapy, see a psychiatrist or find an addiction support group.


When you drink alcohol, it releases dopamine in your brain. The more you drink, the more dopamine you release. When you are no longer drinking, your brain suddenly stops producing dopamine. This leaves you craving alcohol to feel good again. It’s no wonder people get addicted to alcohol when they drink it often. If you find that you’re drinking too much, or that you have a craving for alcohol when you’re not drinking, you may be addicted to alcohol. You should seek out an alcohol recovery center.