People often say they drink to forget about their misfortunes. But does it work? Japanese scientists have concluded that ethanol has the opposite effect on the brain -- it may strengthen existing memories. In a 2008 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, University of Tokyo researchers conducted experiments on rats to see how they reacted to unpleasant stimuli.
The researchers shocked the rats, then injected them with either ethanol or saline. The rats that received ethanol appeared fearful longer, with some reactions lasting for about two weeks. “If we apply this study to humans,” the researchers extrapolated, “the memories they are trying to get rid of will remain (...) even if they drink alcohol to try to forget an event they dislike.”
Alcohol's effect on the human body:
- Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects certain areas of the brain more than others.
- Alcohol also affects the heart, liver, pancreas and immune system, potentially leading to irregular heart rhythms, liver failure, and an increased risk of cancer and other diseases.
- An individual with a parent or sibling with alcoholism is three to four times more likely to also be alcoholic.