What Are The Psychological Effects Of Alcohol Abuse And Addiction?

Though the occasional drink can enhance special occasions, heavy drinking places individuals at risk for an array of physical and mental health issues. In this entry, we will focus on some common psychological effects of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Alcohol Addiction and Mental Health

Know this: Excess alcohol intake negatively impacts learning and memory function. Specifically, the relationship between alcohol addiction and mental health appears to impact an individual’s ability to retain new memories but does not seem to impair memory recall or working memory within a short period of time. Though both male and female drinkers tend to experience similar memory and learning issues, women appear to take the brunt of alcohol’s effects.

Substance Abuse and Control

Alcoholics commonly experience diffuse brain damage in a variety of areas at once. According to studies, the prefrontal cortex is particularly susceptible to the effects of alcohol and substance abuse, as it is connected to each and every lobe of the brain. As the prefrontal cortex controls “executive control” – planning, judgment, goals – throughout the brain, alcoholics place themselves at risk for an array of cognitive, behavioral, social and emotional issues.


Depression and alcoholism often go hand-in-hand. Drinking to excess is often associated with a variety of negative emotional states, including depression. However, the debate as to whether drinking causes depression or vice versa rages on.

Using the 12-Step Program in Outpatient Therapy

In order to achieve and maintain a healthy, happy and long-lasting period of abstinence, many recovery specialists recommend using the 12-step program in outpatient therapy. These organization have long benefited recovering addicts, serving as both a forum and support for those in need. Meetings are not difficult to locate. Larger cities have numerous meetings in various spots, making it easy to attend a meeting at almost any time of the day.

Need Help?

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Summit Behavioral Health is the place to turn. Pick up the phone today and let our team of addiction and recovery specialists help you back on track towards the healthy, happy lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of!

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