If you are an alcoholic, or in danger of developing alcohol dependency issues, you may have long suspected that your issues aren’t entirely psychological and of your own making. New research from McGill University would suggest that your brain is wired up in such a way as to respond in a specific manner when you drink alcohol, and that if you have a tendency towards addiction, there is a greater dopamine response, i.e., the chemical in the brain that provides a sense of pleasure and reward in your brain when you drink.

These new findings could be exceptionally helpful in future treatments for addiction. Whatever circumstances may have occurred for you to find yourself in a position where you have dependency issues, your dopamine response is likely to be similar to the brain patterns observed in this research. Although similar studies have been carried out to observe compulsive drinking in rats in the past, in this case, a group of social drinkers between the ages of 18 and 30, including a group of higher-risk individuals, underwent brain scan examinations after drinking approximately three drinks in a quarter of an hour.

Their brain responses were significantly different than the low-risk group, so much so that the sedative effect of alcohol was almost entirely counteracted. Additionally, their tolerance to alcohol tended to be much higher, meaning that that second drink might seem both more attractive and necessary to “keep up” with their peer group.

If you’re looking for answers on how you developed your addiction issues, and what can be done to help you recover, this project will now give both you and your addiction team some clues not only to your brain make-up, but what might help you understand, and therefore manage dependency.