What Makes Drinking Alcohol Enjoyable?

If you were at a social gathering and your friend offered you a glass of mild poison, you’d decline. If they said “c’mon drink this, it’ll make it harder to walk, speak and remember things, and you’ll feel awful tomorrow”, you’d be even less to agree. If they also expected you to pay for it, you might even get annoyed and even angry at their audacity. You certainly wouldn’t be grateful for it, then buy yourself and them several more doses throughout an evening. Nonetheless, this happens all the time.

Alcohol does all these things described above and more. Still, many people don’t let that put them off. And when holidays come around, alcohol consumption goes up. The parties, time-off, social visits, brunch, and so on. All these festivities add up to an increase in our intake of something that, if the dose is high enough, counts as a toxin.

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.3 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 70.0 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 55.3 percent reported that they drank in the past month.

What Makes Drinking Alcohol Enjoyable?

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol suppresses activity in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes. Rational thought, planning, assessment, and anger suppression is the prefrontal cortex’s responsibility which all go out the window after the 6th drink. The temporal lobes are responsible for memory processing and we know how alcohol affects memory (well, most of the time). This explains why we become more incoherent and forgetful, and less restrained, the more we drink.

This doesn’t explain why we enjoy alcohol though. So what makes drinking alcohol enjoyable? This aspect seems to come from the fact that alcohol increases activity to release dopamine in the reward section of the brain, as well as opioid cells that release endorphins. Both of these activities produce feelings of joy, pleasure, euphoria, depending on the type of activation. That’s why drinking can be so pleasurable. At least at first.

Celebrating with Alcohol

When we go out with friends to celebrate it starts usually having an enjoyable time. We start with a couple of drinks and everyone is enjoying conversation and laughing and getting along, a lot of fun is had. With all this fun from the euphoric effects of alcohol, why wouldn’t you keep drinking?

So you keep drinking then, after a certain point, things change. You start to feel tired, speech is lacking and emotions start to fire up over nothing. The atmosphere is now a lot bleaker. This usually follows with a next morning hangover.  A hangover that makes you promise yourself you will never drink again. Until you do.

Alcohol often has a strong effect on people—and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. This struggle to manage alcohol’s power, in most cases, leads to alcoholism. Alcoholism can affect so many aspects of your life just like any other substance that is abused. Alcoholism can put your employment, personal relationships, financial situations, and more at risk. It turns your whole world upside down and the worst of it; someone can get hurt or even killed. If you are lucky enough not to put someone in danger if you get behind the wheel; you put yourself in danger every time you consume more than one or two drinks a day and for alcoholics, that means we put ourselves in danger every time we pick up a drink.

Get the Help You Need

At Garden State Treatment Center we can help you put down that drink and keep it down. To get the right treatment that will help you live a life that is not controlled by alcohol consumption, you need to take the first step and ask for help. Our alcohol addiction rehab in New Jersey will improve your chances of becoming and staying healthy.