Why Does Smoking Cigarettes Make You Want To Drink Alcohol?

We’ve all known for a long time that alcohol and smoking go hand-in-hand and that one seems to cause us to crave the other. But, why? How does that work?

We know that alcohol consumption boosts dopamine levels in the pleasure centers of the brain. But alcohol also works as a brake, leading to a cycle of diminishing returns. Basically, the more alcohol that one uses, the more that is needed to get to reach the previous levels of enjoyment. People often refer to this as “building their tolerance” without realizing exactly what is happening in their body.  Nicotine turns alcohol into a better brake, so even more alcohol is needed to reach the same level of pleasure than when a person first smoked a cigarette with their beer. A  professional and well-rounded alcohol treatment facility can help you to better understand what is at the root of your addictive behaviors.

A study was done to find out more about the links between smoking and alcohol. A dose of nicotine was given to rats who were then exposed to alcohol. Even 15 hours between treatments, the nicotine would still boost the rat’s desire for self-administered booze. It takes just 90 minutes for nicotine to leave a rat’s body. The continued desire for alcohol after this has occurred shows a long-term alteration in mental craving for alcohol.
“Our findings indicate the mechanisms by which nicotine influences the neural systems associated with alcohol abuse, providing a foundation for conceptualizing strategies aimed at diminishing the link between smoking and later alcohol abuse,” said senior author Dr. John Dani, of the Baylor College of Medicine.

Understanding where addiction comes from as well as what can increase or trigger it is an important part of the healing process. Lasting recovery involves total understanding of your addiction and how to beat it for good.


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