How the Brain Processes Alcohol

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‘Did You Know’ the brain of a non alcoholic processes alcohol differently than in the brain of the alcoholic?


In a non alcoholic brain, Alcohol, after it is ingested, is broken down by the liver into a very toxic substance, Acetaldehyde.  Acetaldehyde then breaks down into Acetic Acid and is blown off by the lungs as Carbon dioxide and is eliminated by the kidneys as Water.  A small percent is also eliminated in perspiration.
In the brain of the alcoholic, the breakdown of Acetaldehyde into Acetic Acid is performed at half the normal rate resulting in a buildup of Acetaldehyde in the liver, heart muscle, and brain.  When Acetaldehyde flows through the brain, the large amounts of Acetaldehyde interact with the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, and forms THIQ, TetrahydroisoquinolineTHIQ is a morphine like substance found only in the brain of an alcoholic. It is THIQ that can trigger the alcoholic’s need for more and more alcohol to counter the painful effects of the progressive buildup of Acetaldehyde.
This explanation from the film, THIQ by Dr. Ohlem, M.D. is simplified, yet it outlines the importance of some of the physiological aspects of the disease of alcoholism.

Carol Ann Worthing, PhD of Individual & Family Wholeness is a psychotherapist in private practice since 1992. She has her PhD in Psychology from Northcentral University in Arizona. She provides a safe and caring approach to your psychotherapy and evaluations for individuals, couples, families, and children. Her practice represents integrity, competency, and confidentiality, a safe and caring place for psychotherapy. It is her mission to guide you and your family to become emotionally and physically whole and to help you deliberately build your lives and families on that wholeness.

To find out if you are alcohol dependent or to get help with your issues with alcohol, please call Carol Ann Worthing, PhD at 303-663-5846.