One of the problems with alcohol dependency is the resultingchemical imbalance that often goes unnoticed and untreated. Regular alcohol consumptioncan create a chain of events that causes serious chemical imbalances in thebrain, leading to both short and long term consequences. These chemicalimbalances create cause for concern for every individual with dependencyissues, especially the youth population whose brains still remain in thedeveloping stages.
Short Term Alcohol-induced Chemical Imbalances
From the first drink, the release of endorphins stimulates receptors in the brain. As you drink more alcohol, this effect continues, as more dopaminethe body's pleasure hormoneis released, creating a short-term dopamine imbalance.
Long Term Chemical Imbalances From Alcohol
Any time your brain notices a chemical imbalance occurring from alcohol consumption, it quickly tries to normalize the situation. This means that your body takes measures to remove the excess dopamine from your system. The body becomes overloaded, at times processing twice the dopamine as it normally would.
After a while, your body adjusts and begins processing and removing large amounts of dopamine from the system. Should you lower your alcohol consumption, you will find yourself at a dopamine deficiency, leading to deep feelings of depression, memory lapses, irritability, judgment problems, aggressive behavior, perception issues, and even suicidal thoughts. This phenomenon is one of the reasons why dependent individuals often perceive that they “need” to drink. These effects come directly from the alcohol itself, not reflecting the true nature of the dependent person.
Other Imbalances Caused by Alcohol
Aside from dopamine and serotonin, alcohol affects other neurotransmitters in the brain, triggering further imbalances. Depletion of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitters and opioid peptides also occurs, lowering your overall sense of pleasure. Alcohol can also lead to imbalances in stress regulation hormones, creating feelings of tension and despair that lead to hair-trigger tempers and heightened reactions to stressful situations.