Alcohol addiction starts in the brain. It is not just the drinking itself that is the problem, but the ways in which your brain fixates itself on your next drink, creating a powerful drive that makes it difficult to think about anything else other than satisfying your craving. That is why honest self-reflection is an important part of recovery.
Learning how to understand how your mind works, and responds to triggers by increasing your desire to drink, is an important step to building up the mental strength needed to make the decision to get sober. Although every person's addiction is unique based on a personal story that no one else shares, most alcohol addictions can be placed in two categories, based on the central emotions that create a desire to drink excessively.
The two different alcoholic brains are Type I, or Anxiety-Prone and Type II, or Impulsive. Determining which category you fit into can be an important first step in helping you find ways to get sober.
Type I - Anxiety Prone:
The first type of alcoholic is anxiety-prone, which means they experience feelings of guilt, fear, or other unpleasant emotions from which they wish to escape. They drink to avoid their problems, which leads to unhealthy patterns of dependence, as it becomes the main way they cope with depressed or anxious feelings.
A binge drinking episode may be sporadic, because it is directly triggered by a distressing event or change in your life. Drinking often takes place alone, and begins later in life. Type 1 alcoholics are less likely to have any genetic predisposition for alcoholism. Because it is directly tied to emotional difficulties, alcoholism can progress from mild to severe very quickly.
For example, you may drink feeling overwhelmed by the loss of a romantic relationship, trying to numb those feelings. While it may temporarily numb the pain, alcohol acts as a depressant that can make these strong emotions come back stronger than ever. This can easily create a vicious cycle, as you further increase problematic drinking as a way to cope with feelings that just get stronger and stronger.
Anxiety-prone drinkers often feel guilty about their drinking, but feel helpless in knowing how they can stop. An important part of treatment for a Type 1 drinker involves the use of therapy to uncover troubling feelings and thought patterns, and developing more productive and helpful ways of coping with anxiousness or pain.
Type 2 - Impulsive:
Type 2 drinkers are impulsive, characterized by being aggressive risk takers, curious, quick-tempered, optimistic, and excitable. Drinking often causes them to engage in antisocial behavior. They drink to have "fun" and seek reward, and may be more likely to bond with others drinkers or use in a party setting.
For these drinkers, alcohol is attractive because it is a novelty, and they may be likely to engage in high risk behavior, or use other drugs as well. They may be more likely to binge drink on a regular basis, regardless of their mood or what else is going on in their lives. They are more likely to experience negative consequences for their drunken behavior, but less likely to experience any guilt. They may have a hard time seeing that their alcoholism is a problem, because it is "fun" and seems to give so much pleasure to their lives. Often, they are reluctant to enter treatment, afraid that a life of sobriety will be boring or isolated.
Type 2 alcoholism develops at a younger age, usually before 25. Most Type II alcohol addicts have genetic predispositions to alcohol abuse. For them, just getting to admit that their is a problem can be difficult, but treatment can change their lives, and help them find better ways of truly living a thrilling life.
Whatever the motivations or patterns behind your alcohol addiction, the truth is that treatment can help you lead a better life. Whether you are trying to avoid unpleasant feelings, or add joy to your life, sobriety can show you a better way more in line with your true self. If alcohol has taken over your life, freedom from your addiction is possible. Do not hesitate to get help today.
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