Everyone knows that alcohol is addictive. But why is it addictive? Many people drink their entire life without ever feeling addicted. Others may drink only a little and start to experience physical effects. Others need the help of an alcohol addiction treatment center to quit drinking for good. What is it about alcohol that is so addictive and why does this happen? Why is Alcohol Addictive? Alcohol is both psychologically and physically addictive, and that's part of what makes it such a difficult substance abuse problem. Due to genetics, mental health, physical health, and a number of other complications, people may be either more or less susceptible to alcohol addiction. Why is Alcohol Addictive Psychologically? Alcohol often makes people feel happier or more energetic. Some people may feel social anxiety without alcohol or may feel like they only have fun with alcohol. This creates a habit: every time they want to feel good, they start using alcohol. This is partly a chemical, physical reaction, but it's also partly just a psychological and emotional one. Thus, even if physical addiction hasn't yet kicked in, people may still feel like using alcohol just because they've started to associate it with a positive feeling. Alcohol is also extremely habit-forming. It's easy for people to drink when they're out with friends, at parties, or even when they've just gotten home for the day. The psychological impact of alcohol abuse can be more difficult to counter than the physical aspects. Often, the ritual may need to be replaced. Former alcoholics often find themselves using things like coffee or tea to distract themselves from the habit of drinking alcohol. In many cases, the draw to abuse alcohol has deep psychological roots. Evidence-based addiction therapies can help reveal these reasons, so each individual can work on their own needs for recovery. Why is Alcohol Addictive Physically? Because so many people drink, it can be hard for people to really realize how physically damaging alcohol can be. Most people will not become physically addicted to alcohol after some time drinking, but this can vary depending on the person. Some people are naturally more vulnerable. First, drinking alcohol stimulates the production of specific chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine. The chemicals that are produced in the brain make people feel happy or euphoric, which is something that they naturally want to do. Over time, it may become more difficult for someone to feel this way without alcohol. More importantly, alcohol changes the body in a way that produces serious withdrawal symptoms if the person stops drinking. These withdrawal symptoms can be so significant that people can die from them. For these reasons, serious alcohol addictions should never be dealt with without the help of a professional medical alcohol detox program. When someone stops drinking, the chemicals that the alcohol produced in their brain go away. The brain suddenly needs to adjust to an absence of these chemicals, because it will have stopped producing them on its own (they will have just been too abundant). This can send the entire body into shock. Those who are going through alcohol withdrawal can experience everything from depression to seizures. Why is Alcohol Addictive to Some More Than Others? You may have seen a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, or alcoholism running in families. This is more complex than it may seem. In part, alcoholism can run in families because children tend to mimic the actions of their parents. In communities where alcoholism is rampant, children are more likely to become alcoholics. But there is a genetic component to addiction, too. Some people may be more prone to chase the feeling of being drunk, while others may have physical abnormalities that make them more likely to experience negative effects when they stop drinking. As you can see, alcohol is an extremely addictive substance. It's even more insidious because of how accessible and common it is. If you have problems with alcohol abuse, the Lucida Treatment Center can help. Our substance abuse treatment programs provide total support for alcohol addiction and addiction to other drugs. Call us today at to set up an appointment.