Brain FunctionsA neurotransmitter imbalance is often at the heart of various cases of alcoholism and drug addiction. What is a neurotransmitter imbalance?

A neurotransmitter imbalance is when one or more of the neurochemical systems within the nervous system are at either higher or lower levels than normal. A neurotransmitter imbalance can either be self-induced through sustained drug or alcohol abuse, or it can be the result of genetic inheritance.

Alcoholics commonly have a neurotransmitter imbalance within their serotonin, GABA, or glutamate neurochemical systems. Many alcoholics have inherently low levels of either serotonin and/or GABA. They unknowingly drink to raise these levels, to make them feel, what most of us would consider, “normal.”

When an individual is born with low amounts of serotonin or GABA they can go through their whole life struggling with feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, or anxiety. Then when they find alcohol or some other drug that raises their deficient neurotransmitter levels, they finally feel relief. Thus begins a path down the road to addiction. Fortunately there are safe non-addictive medications that can correct a neurotransmitter imbalance like this.

Learn more about why people become addicted in the first place and how they can overcome these addictions in Addictionologist and Physician Dr. Fred Von Stieff’s book, Brain in Balance, Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry behind Addiction and Sobriety.