The initial sip of wine or beer causes changes in two brain chemicals quickly. Many of the impacts of alcohol on our thoughts, feelings, and coordination are orchestrated by these.
Alcohol is a psychoactive substance, which means it may drastically alter how we think and feel, even if we don’t always recognize it as such.
Here are some reasons why we feel normal or pleasant after drinking alcohol.
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Alcohol And Feelings: Why Does Booze Make You Feel Normal
Humans have consumed alcohol for at least 10,000 years. And, at a time when drinking water was a bit dangerous, drinking alcohol appeared like a much safer bet.
Alcohol, according to Amadeus of Villanova, a 14th-century monk, “prolongs life, clears away evil humor, revives the heart, and keeps youth.”
People today will give you a variety of reasons for drinking. Most of them are related to their effects on the mind and brain.
But, before you get too drunk, one thing is sure: it is not a safer or healthier option than water.
Why Do I Need Alcohol to Feel Normal
Drinking alcohol is being used as a sort of “self-medication” to relieve stress at work or academic pressures, making it less “aqua vitae,” which means water of life, and more “Aqua ad vitae,” which means water to counteract energy.
“We must not let our spirits give way to grief,” the Greek poet Alcaeus said over 2,600 years ago. “The best of all defenses is to mix enough of wine and consume it,” he added.
The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis — a feedback mechanism between the brain and the pituitary and adrenal glands – is a physiologic mediator of stress.
However, acute alcohol use can increase the production of many stress hormones, including corticosterone and corticotropin.
However, it may feel wonderful because the “stress” reaction combines with the dopamine system’s reward effects.
The truth is that alcohol causes us to feel more stressed and anxious, which is why you may have found yourself waking up at 3 am with a racing heart and feelings of guilt and remorse. Learn about this and more in our transformational coaching
Dopamine, also known as the “happy hormone,” is one of the most important. It’s significant since it’s a chemical messenger that plays a role in reward, motivation, memory, attention, and even body movement regulation.
The dopamine is connected to ‘motivation’ and not happiness. It is short-lived when released and is released in lesser amounts every time alcohol is consumed, leading to chasing the ‘pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – you never find it!
It Aids In The Removal Of Inhibitions
Alcohol is known to diminish inhibitory control in the prefrontal cortex, a portion of the brain connected with decision-making and social behavior, allowing mid-brain dopamine neurons to take over more control. When people drink, they report losing self-control as a result of this.
After just a few drinks, one notable consequence is increased sociability. However, a loss of inhibition is likely to underpin risk-taking behavior under the influence, which helps us understand the link between drinking and accidents and injuries.
It Assists You In Falling Asleep More Quickly
Even though we may enjoy a nightcap, studies suggest that specific quantities of alcohol might lower the amount of slow-wave and REM sleep we get.
As a result, while alcohol may help us fall asleep faster, it does not improve the quality of our sleep.
Because REM sleep is necessary for cognitive processes like memory consolidation, lowering the amount of time this phase occurs has a negative impact on memory. Emotional memory consolidation may be particularly harmed.
Alcohol is also known to affect the long-term potentiation process, which describes how neurons repair their connections after learning.
As a result, changes in REM and slow-wave sleep after drinking may affect the brain’s memory functions.
It Helps To Relieve Discomfort Pain
Sensory neurons detect pain-inducing signals, which are then transmitted to the brain via synapses in the spinal cord and substances like glutamate.
This well-known effect has long been used to justify alcohol consumption: drink it, and you’ll be able to numb your pain perception successfully.
Alcohol, on the other hand, can “dampen down” this rising signal, which is how it accomplishes some of its pain-killing benefits.
Regrettably, research indicates that this pain-relieving impact is quite varied. Regular drinkers may experience increased pain sensitivity.
While some people use alcohol to help them cope with chronic pain, tolerance can develop with time, resulting in pain relief diminishing.
You’ll Feel Warm After A Drink
That’s not the case. While alcohol might temporarily make you feel warm, this sensation is caused by heat-sensitive neurons in your skin that sense a rise in skin temperature caused by increased blood flow in vessels near the skin’s surface.
In reality, because the rush of blood to the skin’s character is a method of body cooling, alcohol decreases your core body temperature.
As a result, while you may appear to be warm on the exterior, you are becoming cold on the inside. Alcohol use has also been demonstrated to lessen the feeling of chilly air temperatures. Still, this effect is likely to originate in the brain rather than changes in blood vessel dilation.
Liquor And Behavior: How Alcohol Affects Your Mood And Behavior
There are various reasons why we feel good or average after drinking. Here are some of how alcohol can alter our mood and behavior and how it does so.
The Pleasant Vibes Element
The human brain sends messages via a variety of substances called neurotransmitters. Dopamine, also known as the “happy hormone,” is one of the most important.
When we start drinking alcohol, our bodies manufacture more dopamine, which flows to the brain’s reward centers, making us feel good and desire to do more of whatever we’re doing.
However, if we continue to drink, the dopamine high will be pushed aside by the less pleasurable symptoms of alcohol, including confusion, clumsiness, nausea, and dehydration.
As a result, our first few drinks will most likely make us feel terrific. They’ll probably make us want to drink even more.
Inhibitions Are Lost
Alcohol is frequently referred to as a ‘disinhibitor,’ meaning making us less cautious and more willing to do things we would ordinarily avoid.
We can do something with alcohol can sometimes be annoying or shaming, but it is not extremely harmful. It includes things such as singing loudly or talking excessively. We might even appreciate it at times.
Human inhibitions are there for a reason, and alcohol makes fools of that. When we learn to relax into who we are and to feel positive about ourselves, alcohol is pointless.
Other times, the consequences can be more significant, such as if we say something harsh that we subsequently regret or attempt to drive ourselves home.
Alcohol is also depressive, slowing down the regions of the brain that help us make decisions and contemplate consequences, making us less inclined to ponder the repercussions of our actions.
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Although alcohol is sometimes a “depressant,” this does not imply that drinking will make you depressed.
Alcohol, in tiny doses, can make you feel quite happy for a short time. Alcohol, on the other hand, depresses the central nervous system, which is the mechanism that allows our brain to communicate with our bodies.
This means that drinking impairs our coordination, making us more prone to accidents, and making us less conscious of danger.
Alcohol, on the other hand, can make us depressed. After a night of heavy drinking, a hangover can be a dreadful feeling. Dehydration, low blood sugar, and various alcohol byproducts can make it difficult to move or think.
In the long run, the body will adapt to the dopamine surges provided by alcohol and produces less dopamine to compensate.
That means that if drinking becomes a habit, we may develop a dopamine deficiency, leading to depression.
Overall, alcohol has a variety of effects on the mind and brain. If you must have a drink for any reason, do it with caution.
And if you are already at the point where you can no longer control your drinking, you will need the support of a coach to advise you and help you deal.
If you’re seeking help cutting back on or quitting drinking, online our expert coaching programs are here for you. The Alcohol Coach can help.
Please note: Although we refer to ‘alcoholism’ and ‘recovery’ in our articles, this is because these terms are often used by others.
The Alcohol Coach services come from a viewpoint of empowerment, mindset shift and high powered transformational change. Then this happens there are no lifelong labels, no counting days, and pure unbounded freedom and discovery!
Hi, I'm Michela
I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!
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