5 Facts About GABA and Alcohol That Can Help in Recovery

The nervous system plays an essential role in the way that the human body moves, reacts, and functions every day. Throughout the nervous system are different elements that help it to do what it’s supposed to do. For example, gamma-aminobutyric acid, otherwise known as GABA, works to keep the nervous system regulated. 

But when the production of GABA is thrown off, the entire body might not be able to work effectively and it could instead have serious side effects that would put you or your loved one at risk for harm. So, what exactly causes this disturbance, and how can you protect yourself from the consequences of not having a functioning nervous system?

To answer those questions, you must begin to look at the toxic relationship between GABA and alcohol. Here are five facts about GABA and alcohol that can help you understand more about the way your body works as well as how to prepare it for addiction recovery.

1. GABA Helps with Your Mood

GABA and alcohol

The first fact to know is that GABA is responsible for regulating the body’s emotional responses to various stimuli. As described above, GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps the different parts of the nervous system communicate with one another. Specifically, GABA stops the body from reacting in extreme ways to situations or stimuli that can’t actually cause harm. 

This is important for mental health wellness. When the production of GABA is off throughout the nervous system, people can experience serious side effects that directly impact their mood and mental health. Not having enough of the GABA neurotransmitter can result in the following conditions:


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So, if you are struggling with intense emotions, intrusive thoughts, or substance use, you might have a deficiency of GABA throughout your body. In most cases, GABA is produced naturally. But there are certain factors that influence how effective GABA is, including alcohol consumption.

2. GABA and Alcohol Are a Bad Combo

This fact is one of the most important things to recognize: GABA and alcohol are a bad combination. GABA is supposed to help the nervous system process emotions, respond to external situations, and physically work to make the body healthier in general. However, alcohol actually harms the production of GABA.

The chemicals in alcohol contradict the work that GABA sets out to do. Simply put, alcohol decreases the effectiveness of GABA on the nervous system. As a result of frequent drinking, the nervous system does not have the GABA transmitters necessary to stay regulated. In turn, the body and brain will respond more emotionally to certain situations.

For people who struggle with an alcohol use disorder, the combination of GABA and alcohol consumption can turn into a serious physical and mental health crisis. When you drink, you are more likely to have mental illness symptoms. On the flip side, when you have worsened mental health, you might be more likely to drink as a way to cope with the discomfort.

Ultimately, GABA and alcohol do not mix well together. To actually recover from an alcohol use disorder, you need enough GABA to calm the nervous system and prepare for intensive treatment. Even after alcohol leaves the body through a supervised detox process, your GABA levels might continue to be low and bring symptoms such as mental health distress, headaches, and even seizures.

3. Alcohol Brings More Harm than Good

Of course, it’s not just GABA and alcohol that can cause harm. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that alcohol use is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, with nearly 100,000 people losing their lives over frequent drinking annually. An untreated addiction to alcohol can result in the following:

4. GABA Supplements Can’t Solve Everything

Interestingly, many people look for GABA supplements when they struggle with alcohol addiction so that they do not have to deal with the side effects of this mix between GABA and alcohol. While GABA supplements might help ease some mental health discomfort, they do not solve the root of the problem, which is the alcohol consumption. 

Furthermore, the body can only really begin to benefit from supplements when there is no more alcohol being introduced into its system. This shows that a combination of lifestyle changes that include eating healthy, living sober, and caring for one’s mental health are necessary to start full recovery.

5. You Can Get Treatment for GABA and Alcohol Use

glutamete and alcohol

While it might seem impossible to find a combination of all of the treatment methods listed above, there are Las Vegas rehabilitation facilities that help people to get their lives back on track after the effects of an alcohol use disorder set in. At the right alcohol addiction treatment center, you will have access to services such as:

  • One-on-one counseling
  • Recovery maintenance support
  • Mental health treatment
  • Group therapies
  • Alumni resources
  • Post-discharge care

Additionally, treatment facilities that offer complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies can be particularly useful in helping the mind and body restore itself. With healthy living support, gentle exercise options, and mental health recovery, you will begin to feel as though you can accomplish anything.

Learn More About GABA and Alcohol Recovery

At the Vance Johnson Recovery Center located in Las Vegas, Nevada you will have the opportunity to heal mind, body, and soul with all of the therapies mentioned above and so many more.

To learn more about staying healthy through GABA and alcohol recovery, reach out to us at 888-828-2623 or tell your story through our confidential contact form today. Whether you have already started to feel the effects of alcohol use on your physical and mental health, or if you are trying to protect yourself from future harm, our team of professional and peer support can guide you toward your recovery goals.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

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