One of the first effects alcohol abuse has is it significantly lowers personal inhibitions. While this often helps people feel relaxed, it has also caused millions of people to engage in extremely risky behaviors with life-changing repercussions.
How Alcohol Lowers Inhibitions
When a person drinks a large amount of alcohol, her brain releases dopamine, the chemical that helps people feel good. The brain uses this natural chemical to reinforce behaviors that promote wellbeing, like exercise, healthy relational connections, hard work and even eating. However, heavy drinking releases a high amount of dopamine, which blocks negative emotions, fear, stress, anxiety and insecurity.
But dopamine blocks more than the unhealthy expressions of anxiety: it blocks all expressions of it. While a drink or two might help someone relax in a social setting, a couple more drinks may prompt her to act in ways he wouldn’t otherwise. Alcohol fuels any of the following behaviors:
- Risky sexual behavior
- Criminal activity
- Fighting and other violence
- Making inappropriate comments to friends, family or co-workers
- The use of other drugs to feel even higher
- Driving under the influence
If you experience any of these symptoms while drinking, you may be abusing the substance to feel good about yourself.
Risks Associated with Lowered Inhibitions
Many intoxicated people engage in behavior that they would avoid while sober. Many babies have been conceived due to unprotected sex while parents were drunk. Millions of lives have been lost to drunk driving. Overdose kills many people every year, and many people go to prison due to acts of violence they committed while under drunk.
In addition to these repercussions, many people become physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol as a result of binge drinking. People who suffer from psychological issues like depression, anxiety or low self-esteem often crave the euphoria from drinking and are often unable to stop without focused, professional help.