Leave it to well-funded scientific studies to tell us what we already know.
A recent University of California study examined the endorphin release that results from drinking alcohol and the particular regions of the brain affected by this release. Scientists hope to better understand how alcohol affects the brain, and to one day use this knowledge to combat addiction.
The study pitted heavy drinkers against non drinkers and found that both parties experience increased endorphins when drinking, which leads to feelings of pleasure. But the brains of heavy or problem drinkers are actually changed in a way that makes them more likely to find alcohol pleasant. Thus, problem drinking can ensue.
Some fun facts from the study –
- Drinking alcohol makes people feel better because it produces the same chemicals in the brain as exercising and laughing.
- Alcohol is addictive because it releases endorphins, which are the body’s way of making us feel pleasure and reward.
- The stress and pain-relieving proteins that are naturally released in the brain when consuming alcohol produce similar effects to opiates like morphine.
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