One of the greatest addictions nowadays is definitely alcohol. We all consume no matter if it’s a formal event or just to relax at home. Alcohol is present everywhere, lunches, birthdays, dinners, first dates, celebrations etc.
No matter if you’ve only had one drink or several of them or you’ve maybe had too much so you danced all night, even the smallest amount of alcohol can have an effect on our behavior and our brain.
The Science of the Effect of Alcohol on the Brain
Alcohol is considered to be a depressant. It’s not a stimulant like the caffeine found in tea or coffee. Even though it is classified like this, when people drink it, they tend to feel excited and want to dance all night. They’re energetic.
Still, alcohol is a depressant because it targets the chemical called GABA. This is the primary neurotransmitter in our brain. When this chemical becomes affected, it changes our arousal, mood as well as our neuropsychological functioning.
How Alcohol acts as a Stimulant?
Many people call alcohol their “liquid courage”. When we consume it, it increases the amount of alcohol in our blood and makes these changes:
- Activity in the cerebellum becomes decreased. This region is responsible for our motor control;
- The levels of Norepinephrine increase. This is a chemical responsible for impulsive behavior and excitement;
- Activity in the temporal cortex becomes decreased. This is the region where the hippocampus is. The hippocampus helps us create new memories. When its activity becomes decreased, we tend to experience “blackouts” and we usually can’t remember some parts of the previous night;
- Activity in the prefrontal cortex of your brain becomes decreased. This is the part of our brain that’s responsible for decision making, rational thought and violence.
That’s what actually makes people “braver” when they drink alcohol, so they do things that they usually wouldn’t.
How Alcohol acts as a Depressant?
After we stop drinking alcohol, the content of alcohol in our blood starts to fall. This causes a sedative effect on our brain. That’s why we become sleepy after the night has finished.
The Spiritual Affect of Alcohol
According to some studies, alcohol can even have an effect on people who are different in a spiritual way than other people. University of Kentucky performed a study which managed to prove that people who were more religious were more likely to become aggressive while they were drinking.
Another contrast study proved that meditation, prayer and spirituality is extremely beneficial for people recovering from alcoholism.
Spirituality usually develops since we’re children, but as we grow we tend to lose it. Factors that can contribute to it are alcohol and drugs.
People use drinking to fill the spiritual void and they focus on some short-term goals and they aren’t trying to find purpose or happiness within themselves.
The Bottom Line
No matter how you approach drinking, we can agree that it really changes you. It changes your thinking, acting, walking, thinking etc. Everything becomes changed.
Unfortunately, it has become a great part of our society. Don’t forget your limits! Always know when you need to stop! Never drink and drive! Try not to do some irrational actions that will make you regret what you did!