(poto credit addisonmagazine.com)
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough”
When I was drinking I never left a party early. I was always the last one at the bar, scared to miss out because I believed there was something wonderful and amazing around the corner, I just had no ‘off switch’.
I was listening to the willpower instinct written by Written by: Kelly McGonigal. In the book, he talks about dopamine and the role it plays in addiction.
Dopamine is the brain’s major reward neurotransmitter pathway. It’s basically the sex, drugs and rock and roll chemical of the brain.
In the past it has been thought of as the brains ‘reward chemical’ however new research has now proved that this isn’t completely accurate.
The firing of dopamine neurons occurs when a pleasurable activity is expected, regardless of whether pleasure actually happens or not.
Dopamine’s role in pleasure and reward is that it’s like a little red flag to your brain, saying “hey, pay attention, this is about to feel good, and you want to remember this so you can do it again.”
By jacking up dopamine levels in your brain, alcohol tricks you into thinking that it’s actually making you feel great (or maybe just better, if you are drinking to get over something emotionally difficult). The effect is that you keep drinking to get more dopamine release, but at the same time you’re altering other brain chemicals that are enhancing feelings of depression.
When you are stuck in this chemical loop there is no way out. I just need to reiterate this, the dopamine doesn’t make you feel good it is telling your brain something great is on the way…this is why when you are drinking you never quite ‘get there’ This is why a thousand will never be enough!
This was a revelation to me in so many ways. It explained so much about why I had the compulsion to keep drinking.
A couple of videos by Annie Grace I’ve found that are related and that you may find interesting:
does alcohol make you happy?
Is drinking a habit?
High from drinking?
Have a lovely sober Sunday! xxx