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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: When a person who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Mesolimbic dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) When a person who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking...
Mesolimbic dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways.
Mesolimbic dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a person who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking, chemical responses create an overexcited nervous system and agitation by changing the level of chemicals that inhibit impulsivity or stress and excitation. High norepinephrine levels, a chemical the brain produces more of when drinking is stopped, may trigger withdrawal symptoms, such as increasing blood pressure and heart rate. This hyperactivity in the brain produces an intense need to calm down and to use more alcohol.
Drinking alcohol also stimulates the release of other neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and opioid peptides) that produce pleasurable feelings such as euphoria, a sensation of being rewarded, and a sense of well-being.
Over time, however, heavy alcohol use appears to deplete the stores of dopamine and serotonin. Persistent drinking, therefore, eventually fails to restore mood, but by then the drinker has been conditioned to believe that alcohol will improve spirits (even though it does not).

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