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How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain?

a person holds a model of a person's head with a image of a brain on it to explain and answer the question of how does alcohol affect the brain

Alcohol is a common part of social life in the United States. Often used as self-soother for those dealing with stress, life changes, or mental health concerns, alcohol use can cause lasting effects on the brain and body. Unfortunately, while alcohol can bring people together socially, it is also highly addictive. It’s helpful to understand how alcohol affects the brain and body to know when it’s time to seek alcohol addiction treatment.

If you or someone you love is ready to learn more about alcohol use and the brain, we’re here to help. At A Better State, we believe in uncovering and treating the root causes of alcohol addiction. Our outpatient treatment programs focus on trauma-informed substance use and mental health care. You can feel better without compromising your schedule with a range of daytime and evening programs. Call us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about how alcohol affects the brain, and start treatment today.

Understanding the Link Between Alcohol Abuse and the Brain

Alcohol can slow the brain and body, making it hard to maintain balance, think clearly, and stay alert. This can cause slurred speech and memory problems and lead the nervous system to shut down vital organs. Alcohol also affects the brain’s ability to make judgments. This can make people feel more confident and engage in more risk-taking behavior.

While this can make people feel like alcohol gives them more energy or freedom from stress, anxiety, depression, or unprocessed trauma, in the long run, alcohol can exacerbate a person’s depression and depletes vital chemicals in the brain. For those living with a mental health condition, alcohol can affect the brain more quickly, leading to addiction.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol use and addiction are common. Because alcohol is legal, relatively inexpensive, and easy to get, many people think it’s more benign than other substances. Unfortunately, alcohol affects every system in the body and can quickly lead to dependency. It’s challenging to realize when social drinking becomes habitual and addictive behavior.

When drinking is no longer about a social event or when someone needs alcohol to endure a social event, they may struggle with underlying causes of alcohol addiction. When someone craves alcohol, their brain and body depend on alcohol for certain chemical processes. These signs of alcohol addiction can develop slowly. For those with co-occurring mental health conditions, alcohol addiction can develop more quickly.

Signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Secretive drinking
  • Drinking during the day
  • Drinking at work or school
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Aggression
  • Thinking about alcohol all the time
  • Worrying about your next drink
  • Changes in sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Increased depression

These are only a few signs alcohol use has become an alcohol use disorder. Unfortunately, quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous and increase someone’s risk of relapse, health problems, and alcohol overdose.

Start Alcohol Addiction Treatment in New Hampshire Today

Understanding alcohol use and the brain can be vital for preventing long-term memory problems, organ failure, and other complications of alcohol addiction. Like other addictions, alcohol addiction is treatable. If you or someone you love is ready to learn more about how alcohol affects the brain, we can help.

At a Better State, we focus on a different approach to addiction treatment. Our accessible program helps clients uncover the root causes of alcohol use and addiction for long-term healing. With a focus on depression, anxiety, and PTSD, our dual diagnosis treatment center treats mental health and addiction at the same time. With a range of trauma-informed therapies and accessible hours, our partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are available to help you or someone you love through recovery. Whether you want daytime or evening alcohol addiction treatment, we are here to help you thrive.

Contact A Better State to Learn More About How Alcoholism Affects the Brain

Ready to learn more about how alcohol affects the brain? At A Better State, we are here for you. We understand that each client is unique, and so is how they need to recover. That’s why our team of licensed therapists and counselors personalize treatment plans to fit each client’s needs. You can feel better without sacrificing your schedule with outpatient addiction treatment in New Hampshire. Contact us now at 781.412.1488 to speak with our team about alcohol treatment options.