Each of these types of neurotransmitters transmits different messages across the nervous systems’ synapses, causing individuals to experience a variety of different emotions. Imbalances in those neurotransmitters cause various problems. If, for example, an individual has too much dopamine, they will hallucinate. Those with not enough dopamine will often become depressed. There is a fine balance between how much dopamine is necessary to feel good and how much will make a person delusional.
Dopamine is just one example of the eight different types of neurotransmitters that is tied in one way or another to addiction. When people inherit deficiencies in one or more of these 8 types of neurotransmitters, they are more likely to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Why? Because drugs and alcohol momentarily raise precise combinations of these interconnected neurotransmitter systems, making the person feel better than ever (what others feel on a day-to-day basis), leading them to crave more once the effects subside.
Individuals with normal levels of these eight types of neurotransmitters would feel the effects of the alcohol or other drugs, but not necessarily crave more once it wears off, due to having normal neurochemical levels. Of course with repeated drug use, one can create an imbalance within the neurotransmitters that eventually leads to cravings. Indeed, there are alcoholics and substance abusers that begin abusing the substances due to an inherit imbalance in their neurotransmitters; Then there are those who create the imbalance in themselves. Both types can be helped with a proper detoxification and follow-up treatment that is catered to each particular case with individual neurotransmitter balances taken into consideration.
Read more about these eight types of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter-centered treatment methods in Dr. Fred J. Von Stieff’s book, Brain in Balance: Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry behind Addiction and Sobriety.