Alcohol Addiction: Causes and Effects
There are numerous factors that make alcohol addictive. Many of these are beyond our control as individuals. One factor is genetics. There are a handful of genes that can affect the likelihood an individual will develop alcoholism. This however, does not mean a person with such genes is guaranteed to become an alcoholic. Environmental factors also influence to alcohol abuse. Being raised in a stressful environment can increase the possibility of developing alcoholism. Experiencing trauma can also lead to a dependency on alcohol.
Another factor of alcohol addiction is alcohol’s effect on serotonin in the brain. Studies have shown that intake in alcohol increases serotonin levels in the brain. Also, acute consumption of alcohol can enhance the effects of serotonin, amplifying the emotions the addict experiences.
Short term effects include dizziness, aggressiveness and talkativeness. Larger amounts of alcohol can cause slurred speech, insomnia, decline in motor skills and coordination, impaired judgment, nausea and vomiting. The magnitudes of these effects are dependent on the person’s size, weight, age and sex. Hangovers are another effect after taking large amounts of alcohol; hangovers consist of headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness and fatigue.
Long term effects of heavy alcohol use can lead damage to the brain causing loss of sensitivity in the hands and feet, loss of memory, confusion and insomnia. Muscle atrophy is also associated with long term drinking although the reason why is still unknown. Alcoholics can also develop an enlarged heart and issues with high blood pressure. Alcohol also causes inflammation and bleeding in the stomach as well as ulcers. The liver is effected the most by alcohol as it filters and removes alcohol from the body. Long term drinking will cause cirrhosis, hepatitis and increased risk of liver cancer.