It is well known that alcohol is an addictive substance that is hard to quit. The question is why? Some factors of alcoholism are genetic. People whose brains “release more natural opioids in response to alcohol may get more pleasure out of drinking and may be more likely to drink too much and become alcoholics” Also, the orbitofrontal cortex, which is “a brain region linked with decision-making” is affected by alcohol and is a factor of addiction. In addition, Alcohol triggers dopamine release in the brain, a chemical known to spur satisfying feelings. If all of these factors leading to addiction aren’t enough, scientists recently found evidence of a chemical that makes it hard to stop drinking alcohol.
Researchers from the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that long term alcohol abuse leads to higher levels of acetate. Our brains usually run on sugar but recent studies show that heavy drinkers are better able to use acetate to fuel their brain.
Studies show that heavy drinkers were more adept at transporting acetate to their brains than light drinkers. In addition heavier drinkers “burned the chemical about twice as fast as light drinkers”. This showed that the brains of heavy drinkers are able to use alternate energy sources very efficiently. This may seem like an advantage but this extra energy source makes the body even more addicted to alcohol.