The Frenzied Lure of Alcohol

Alcohol influences one’s subconscious perception of events, improving human appreciation of things such as food, music and even the company of others. Such fun and rewarding moments tend to increase the desire to experience similar events again.In fact, new research says alcohol consumption appears to help the brain to learn and remember better.

Conscious Learning Vs. Subconscious Learning

This appears to contradict the popular notion that drinking is bad for your brain. But consider how people talk about learning and refer specifically to the conscious memory.Alcohol, however, is a complex drug affecting the brain in many ways.

Alcohol diminishes the ability to hold on to information like names, words and location. Little do people know that the subconscious is learning and remembering, too – both of which are enhanced by alcohol.Researchers have also studied current, recovering and recovered alcohol addicts, and discovered how alcohol actually enhances synaptic plasticity in the brain – making it more receptive to learning – which supports suggestions that addiction is fundamentally a learning disorder.

Soaking It All Up: Experiencing the Moment

This supports how alcoholics aren’t addicted to the experience of pleasure or relief they get from drinking.What they’re actually craving for is the environmental, physiological, and behavioural cues of the moment, i.e. memories and habits of food, music, people, and situations,which reinforces all related factors in reinforcing the release of dopamine in the brain.

Tweaking Dopamine as a Learning Transmitter

Dopamine has always been branded as the happy hormone, but more accurately it’s a learning transmitter. It hijacks the dopaminergic system, convincing the brain that the experience is rewarding and thus worth repeating.These include drinking, going to the bar, chatting with friends, listening to the music, and eating your favourite food.The more often you do these things under the effect of alcohol, and the more dopamine is released,the more you crave the experiences and associations that come with alcohol.

With all these in mind, researchers hope they can develop anti-addiction drugs for alcoholics trying to recover. This involves erasing the subconscious memory of addiction, reversing the mind and starting anew.

Ivan Grieve
About Ivan Grieve 22 Articles
Ivan is a nutritionist and a part-time university professor in Massachusetts. During his spare time, he writes blogs for health-related issues.

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