Alcohol can help you to remember
Written By: Abbie Smith
Despite people often drinking as a means of forgetting their problems, alcohol may help us to remember them, according to scientists.
Research has found that the process of getting drunk primes the areas of our brain that causes us to learn and remember things clearly.
While the popular belief that drinking can help you to forget things and impairs your learning is not incorrect, it only highlights one of the effects that alcohol can have on your brain.
The study was carried out in America at the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research at The University of Texas.
It found that repeated exposure to alcohol improves synaptic plasticity in a key area of the brain.
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Neurobiologist Hitoshi Morikawa told Science Daily: “Usually, when we talk about learning and memory, we're talking about conscious memory.”
“Alcohol diminishes our ability to hold on to pieces of information like your colleague's name, or the definition of a word, or where you parked your car this morning.”
“But our subconscious is learning and remembering too, and alcohol may actually increase our capacity to learn.”
He believes that when people take drugs or drink alcohol, the subconscious becomes more receptive to forming memories and habits in regards to food, music, people and social situations.
Because of this, he thinks that alcoholics enjoy drinking because behavioral, psychological and environmental cues that are reinforced when alcohol releases dopamine to the brain.
“People commonly think of dopamine as a happy transmitter, or a pleasure transmitter, but more accurately it's a learning transmitter,” he said.
Morikawa conducted the study to gain a better understanding of addiction and its neurobiological underpinnings, in the hope that he can eventually develop anti-addiction drugs.
He said: “We're talking about de-wiring things. It's kind of scary because it has the potential to be a mind controlling substance. Our goal, though, is to reverse the mind controlling aspects of addictive drugs.”