“All drugs of abuse…have adverse side effects… Why do we remember the good things about them and not the bad?…My team is trying to understand on a molecular level what drugs of abuse are doing to memories and why they’re causing cravings.”
~ Dr. Karla Kaun, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Brown University
A new study has found that even after just a few drinks, alcohol hijacks a specific memory pathway, making changes at the molecular level. As a result, drinkers are more likely to remember the “positive” effects of alcohol –the euphoria, the loosened inhibitions, the relaxation, etc. – than the negative consequences such as loss of control, nausea, or hangovers.
Just one drink triggers these changes, but the pathway which runs to normal in about an hour. However, after three drinks, with an hour break in between, the pathway remains altered.
This research agrees with earlier research that concluded that binge drinkers tend to forget the worst aspects of being drunk.
This selective and biased memory formation supports further drinking. Even more importantly, it often leads to relapse among people who are trying to give up alcohol.
Why Is This Important?
Despite all of the headlines about the ongoing and worsening opioid epidemic, alcohol has always been the most dangerous intoxicant in the world. While drug overdose killed 72,000 Americans last year, alcohol took the lives of over 88,000.
Even worse, the death rate due to alcohol is rising. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of deaths caused by alcohol jumped by 35%.
This is relevant locally because San Diego was recently named the , meaning local households spend more money on alcohol than any other city in America.
What all of this means to YOU is this:
If you are worried about what you’re problematic drinking is doing to your life, it is extremely difficult to give up alcohol on your own. Science shows us that your own brain is working against you, sabotaging your solo efforts to get sober.
But if you live in Southern California, your best resource is Lasting Recovery, a premier outpatient alcohol rehab program in San Diego. If you want to safely and successfully overcome your addiction to alcohol,
Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”