Alcohol Fools The Brain Into Thinking It Is Releasing Chemicals That Calm Us Down - Go Good Guru - Balance | Align | Move

Alcohol Fools The Brain Into Thinking It Is Releasing Chemicals That Calm Us Down

After a busy day at work, many of us want to unwind with a glass of wine.Now scientists have found that reaching for the bottle is part of the body’s natural response to stress.Increased stress levels alter the brain’s chemical make-up by changing what it thinks it needs to survive.Signals in the brain released by stress – designed to protect and calm our bodies – are similar to those given out after using addictive substances such as alcohol, caffeine and drugs.The brain is therefore tricked into thinking the alcohol is helping us, encouraging the drinker to come back for more.

This change in the brain’s reward centre could lead to excessive levels of drinking, scientists say.The research was conducted by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, who found rats exposed to stress voluntarily drank more alcohol compared to those not put under the same stresses.Professor Dr John Dani, chairman of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine, said: ‘The stressed rats drank significantly more than controls, and the increase was maintained for several weeks.

‘The stress response evolved to protect us, but addictive drugs use those mechanisms and trick our brains to keep us coming back for more.’Rats were exposed to an acute stress for one hour, and then 15 hours later, researchers measured the amount of sugar water laced with ethanol that the rodents drank.The team is now talking with other researchers to study a way to normalise the firing of neurons in the brain’s reward system to help control the over-consumption of alcohol.The study was published in the journal Neuron.


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