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What Makes Alcohol and Drugs Addictive… and How Can You Keep Yourself Safe?

person looks over motorway bridge with alcoholic bottle in hand

Drug and alcohol addiction can destroy lives. But what makes drugs and alcohol addictive?

In the following article, I’ll hopefully enlighten you on how to keep yourself safe from becoming addicted in the first place and how to seek treatment if you do find you are becoming dependent.

What makes alcohol addictive?

Plenty of people drink alcohol without becoming addicted to it, but at the same time, many people do become addicted to drinking alcohol.

Seeing as drinking alcohol stimulates the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which produces feelings of happiness and satisfaction, some people become addicted because they want to feel that pleasure as much as possible.

But genetic factors also come into play, as alcohol can react differently in different people’s brains. Some people’s brains release more chemicals that make them feel happy after drinking alcohol than others, which means those people can become more susceptible to addiction.

Furthermore, alcohol use can make physical changes to the chemistry and functioning of the brain, which can lead to people experiencing cravings.

Even when people who are addicted want to stop their addictive behaviour, the fact that they drink alcohol regularly to begin with means the alcohol can compromise their impulse control and decision-making.

Psychological factors are at play, too. When someone who is addicted does not believe in treatment and recovery, it can be more difficult for that person to seek treatment and recover.

What makes drugs addictive?

Drug addiction works in a similar way to alcohol addiction. After all, alcohol is a type of drug.

Certain drugs, as with alcohol, produce surges of dopamine in people who take them. When people repeatedly use substances that increase dopamine levels, their brains associate the rewarding feeling that the dopamine provides with the drug being consumed.

As people become more reliant on substances, it becomes much more difficult for them to stop thinking about and consuming those drugs.

People can also become addicted to drugs because they provide feelings of relaxation and satisfaction.

Some people become addicted because drugs enable them to improve their focus and abilities temporarily or to self-medicate mental health symptoms.

Someone’s genetic makeup or environment can also create addiction.

Drugs include over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications as well as illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin.

And not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. But some types of drugs can be more addictive than others.

How can you keep yourself safe from alcohol and drug addiction?

There are ways you can prevent becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs and, in turn, stay safe.

For instance, you can keep a well-balanced life and reduce stress in your life to stop you from becoming reliant on substances.

Simply being aware of the risk factors of consuming alcohol and drugs regularly can also reduce the likelihood of becoming addicted.

And if you take substances to self-medicate mental health issues, you should get professional help for your mental health condition rather than going down the self-medication route.

Another way to avoid alcohol and drug addiction is to simply never give in to peer pressure. Do not drink alcohol or take substances simply because your friends are doing so and are encouraging you.

Finding Addiction Treatment Local to You, e.g. in Indiana

If you should become addicted to alcohol or drug addiction, you still have the opportunity to turn your life around by seeking professional help.

One of the best ways of overcoming addiction is to spend time at a local addiction treatment centre.

For instance, if you are located in Indiana in the U.S., you could get help from the knowledgeable and skilled professionals at Allendale Treatment, which is well-known as Indiana’s most reliable addiction centre.

There are all also many alcohol and drug rehabilitation centres in the U.K. and other countries.

In addition to getting treatment for the addiction, you can access mental health services.

Final Thoughts

You should make yourself aware of the negative effects that alcohol and drug addiction can have on your life to help prevent you from becoming addicted in the first place.

But if you do become addicted, make sure you seek professional help as soon as possible.

Visiting your doctor is one of the best first steps you can take, as you can then find out about the various treatment options available, such as visiting a local addiction treatment centre.