How Alcohol Distorts Reality

Mar 2, 2015

When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it makes a beeline for the brain, where it begins making adjustments to receptors and processes in just about every area. These adjustments produce a whole host of symptoms, ranging from that euphoric feeling of being drunk, to the hangover the next morning. Most of the effects of alcohol alter the way we make decisions, process information, and perceive reality.

Just One Drink

Right from the first sip of alcohol, you begin to see things a little differently. Even the most infrequent drinker can attest to the relaxing effects of the occasional glass of wine. Alcohol goes straight to your head, even if you’ve only had a little bit. Just one drink will lower your inhibitions, affect your mood, and change your decision making patterns. You might assume that alcohol always has a calming effect, but for many people the exact opposite is true. Alcohol can also make a person more aggressive, frustrated, and energetic. Whichever direction alcohol takes you, it will be more than a few steps away from reality.

Losing Touch Long Term

The more you drink, the more of a dependence on alcohol you build, and the more detached from reality you become. Continued abuse of alcohol leads to addiction, and this disease is completely fueled by a loss of touch with reality. Denial that there’s a problem at all is a stereotypical characteristic of alcoholics, and it’s one that holds true. Alcoholism damages the part of the brain that established cause and effect, making it impossible for the alcoholic to understand how much damage is being done by their addictive behavior. Alcoholics also have trouble understanding how their actions are affecting other people, and often blame the problems in their life on outside sources. The picture painted by the alcoholic brain scarcely resembles reality, but the disease renders the alcoholic incapable of recognizing the disconnect.

The Reality of Recovery

The most troubling distortion of reality for alcoholics is the fact that many addicts don’t even recognize that they need help for their problem. The vast majority of alcoholics never receive treatment for their disease, and 95% of those who go untreated say it’s because they don’t think they need any help. Meanwhile, the alcoholic continues to spiral out of control while those who love them watch helplessly on. Breaking through the distortion just enough to recognize that there is a problem and that you do need help is a life-changing realization that will finally set you on the path to healing. Whether this realization comes through some kind of traumatic event, by way of an intervention, or through your own internal reflection, getting help as soon as possible is the only way to restore health and sanity.
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