Is there a Neurological Reason for Binge Drinking Behavior?
When it comes to drinking or doing drugs, people will remain in denial as long as possible. The neurological basis for binge drinking behavior has been documented because addiction starts in the brain where it rewires everything to think the body needs something it doesn’t. The brain and body get corrupted into thinking it needs these substances so the person stays addicted until they can detox and try to recover their life.
The amygdala is associated with various things including anxiety and psychological stress. Researchers have looked into neurons in the brain that produce substances that can inhibit brain function when alcohol is present. Two brain regions modulate stress and reward and are part of the circuit that controls binge drinking behavior. Alcohol activates the neurons in the amygdala which act on the area. The observations during research suggest when someone drinks, these neurons activate and act on the areas of the brain to promote excessive drinking. In essence, the brain wants more of what it is getting.
Nuances of Alcoholism
There is no one set way the brain responds to alcohol. Binge drinking is not driven by anxiety or impulsivity alone, it is also the desire to be without ego and feel ecstatic for a time. It is driven by social norms and a culture that responds to drinking. Some people become isolated and depressed so they become more into drinking and the downward spiral continues. Unfortunately, some people get a taste for alcohol and have a hard time stopping because the brain picks up on what it likes and the circuits shift into gear. Alcohol and binge drinking are seductive because they feel like a cure for what ails, including a feeling that nothing can stop them. However, this is simply not true. A person’s world can come tumbling down anytime as a result of binge drinking behavior.
In spite of a neurological reason for drinking, that does not stop a person from getting help. When people struggle with addiction, it is complex and they need help from their support system to stop. Binge drinking may be difficult for someone to deal with but it is harder when they continue the behavior without ever looking back and thinking about how they can change things for the better now. When a person is willing to stop and ask for help, they take the first step in telling their brain ‘no more,’ and seeking help that will support their journey forward. The main thing to keep in mind is that everyone has to deal with their recovery in their own way and finding the best help for neurological and physical aspects of alcoholism will be the best bet for a healthy recovery.
The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.