After learning your son has been grappling with alcohol use disorder, a thousand questions may swirl through your mind – chief among them a need to know why and how this issue happened in your family. It’s a challenging reality to face, primarily due to the societal stigma surrounding addictive behavior.
At PACE Recovery, we understand your concerns, and we want to shed light on this complex issue.
Understanding Addiction as a Brain Disease
Firstly, let’s dispel a pervasive misconception: addiction is not a moral failing or a lack of willpower. Instead, it is a brain disease that can affect anyone, regardless of their upbringing, socioeconomic status, beliefs or background. Substance use disorders stem from an interplay among multiple factors, and they do not result from irresponsible choices or a weak moral compass.
Scientific research has increasingly shown that addiction involves significant changes in the brain. Over time, alcohol and other drugs alter the innate reward system, making it increasingly challenging for people to resist cravings – even when facing severe consequences for their health and relationships.
When someone drinks alcohol, their brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the feeling of pleasure. Over time, the brain learns that alcohol is gratifying and forms a reward circuit. This learned behavior compels people to continue drinking to feel pleasure.
From Tolerance to Dependency
With regular alcohol use, the brain starts to adapt by releasing less dopamine. As a result, alcohol provides less pleasure than before, leading the person to drink more in pursuit of the desired effect – this phenomenon is what we call tolerance. Additionally, it will become difficult for your son’s brain to achieve equilibrium and derive pleasure from ordinary daily activities when he is sober.
These neurological changes make it increasingly difficult to resist the urge to drink, causing an intense focus on finding and consuming alcohol, regardless of the ramifications. This point marks the transition from casual drinking to a fully fledged addiction.
Start Your Son’s Healing at PACE Recovery
At PACE Recovery, we believe understanding addiction’s neurological basis is crucial to remove the stigma associated with it. Recognizing addiction as a brain disease enables us to approach it with compassion and understanding, providing effective evidence-based treatments.
Your son’s alcohol use disorder is not a reflection of his character or your parenting. It’s a pervasive illness that requires treatment and support to manage. Our dedicated team at PACE Recovery is here to help. We specialize in treating men who struggle with addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. Our integrated approach involves treating the physical, psychological, emotional and social facets of the disease.
Remember, there is no shame in getting help for alcohol addiction. It takes strength and courage to admit there is a problem and reach out. To learn more about men’s-only recovery at PACE, contact us today.