Apparently alcohol makes your gray matter thirsty for more of the same …
We’ve all been there: When we’re taking a night off from drinking, giving our livers a few breaths to regenerate and that “just one drink” text turns into a blundering, keg-standing ovation of Kennedy proportions.
According to a new study from Texas A&M University, that chaotic fallout isn't our fault. Like, at all. Logic and reasoning was all well and good when we decided to take it easy on the Fireball, however our brains are evolutionarily wired against our better judgment and will vehemently suggest we imbibe more once the slightest hint of alcohol enters the system.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, concludes that alcohol may actually modify the function of neurons within the dorsomedial striatum (a large portion of our brains that control our most basic primeval reward system). As noted by VICE, each time we take a nice, even pull off that bottle or empty a quaffer into our gullets, “the shape of these ‘go neurons’ shifts, urging you to order another round and keep up the buzz. Binge-drinking continues to activate these D1 (dopamine) neurons leading people who are susceptible to alcohol abuse to continue drinking past the point of safety or pleasantness. It’s a vicious cycle wherein your brain’s ‘yes’ mechanism is more easily activated, and the more you drink, the more susceptible you are to its motivational powers.”
“If these neurons are excited, you will want to drink alcohol,” says Jun Wang, a co-author of the study. Anybody getting the shakes yet?
The research team also found that these alterations occur only in a subpopulation of neurons that positively control reward and reinforcement of drugs of abuse, something that sheds light on the addictive qualities of Modelo and mango Bacardi.
But, there’s good news: this research opens the door to untouched territory when it comes to medication that could block these positive reward receptors and break the neuronal cycle of “just one more.”
The dawn of a new era may be upon us. With a simple pill we may one day have the option of going out with the co-workers while having just one Old Fashioned instead of being a mere pair of functioning mitts our brains use to get its dopamine on while getting stuck with the tab.