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Why is it so Difficult to Quit?

Updated: Apr 19

A deeper look into addictions


"I'll just have one glass"

You're sitting in your living room on a Tuesday night and looks over to the wine bottle in the kitchen. ‘’Just one glass’’ you think while the desperation grows. The night ends with feelings of shame and anxiety - once again you couldn't keep your promise. But why is it so difficult to give up drinking?

Alcohol abuse from a biological and psychological viewpoint

According to Dr. Anna Lembke all types of addiction are connected to the dopamine balance and a change in the reward system. When we experience something that makes us feel happy and satisfied, dopamine is released in the brain. We all have a normal dopamine level that can increase and decrease depending on our experience of pleasure or pain in different situations.

Alcohol gives many of us a feeling of satisfaction which releases a large amount of dopamine in the brain. When you drink alcohol you get a feeling of happiness, giving you unbalanced dopamine levels. Thereafter, when you stop drinking the balance needs to be restored. Dopamine stops being produced and you feel unhappy.

However, after some time the unpleasant feeling passes and the dopamine levels return to normal. If you continue to drink regularly and reward yourself, the brain doesn't get a chance to balance itself. This means that your normal baseline leans more towards the painful side, meaning a lack of dopamine. When you are not drinking you feel negative feelings which can cause depressions. These feelings can lead to the progression of an alcohol addiction.

A vicious cycle that can be broken

After drinking regularly your brain is set to be rewarded by alcohol, which makes quitting difficult. When you are not drinking you get abstinence. The more you "reward yourself" with alcohol, the stronger the pain becomes when you eventually quit. Drinking turns into a vicious cycle. It affects you greatly, but it can be broken with the right kind of help!

Although your brain can be one cause to your alcohol addiction, there can also be other reasons. Find them in the Cairy App. Become a part of our community and get to know others in the same situation. In our app you will get support and help you on your journey to a sober life!

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