Simply put, alcohol is a detrimental drug that can wreak havoc on the human body. While we often think about how this substance destroys the digestive system (most notably the stomach and liver), we sometimes forget that alcoholic beverages can force parts of your brain to deteriorate at a rapid level. In fact, recent studies confirm that booze not only causes delirium and confusion but can also destroy people’s memories, as well. Ultimately, victims of alcohol use disorder (including alcoholism and alcohol abuse) suffer from a severely warped sense of reward and avoidance, which become drastically warbled after booze enters the picture. For today, let’s take a closer look at the tragic reality of how alcohol impedes memory pathways in the brain.
Reward and Avoidance
As part of a recent study published in the Neuron, a group of researchers discovered that alcohol disrupts neural pathways associated with reward and avoidance (two elements that are directly linked to cravings). In fact, including in a few drinks in the late hours of evening can change a person’s neurons on the molecular level. Ultimately, Karla Kaun (assistant professor of neuroscience at Brown University) teamed up a research group (including undergraduates, technicians, and postdoctoral researchers) to uncover why alcohol produces a rewarding sensation even though it is labeled as a “neurotoxin.”
According to Kaun, all drugs (including alcohol) produce terrible side effects like nausea, fatigue, headaches, and spasms, but people continuously crave these substances. Why is that the case?
Rewiring Molecules…One Glob at a Time
Interestingly, the research team did not inspect humans but, instead, focused their attention on a creature with a less superior mind: the fruit fly. Unlike humans (who have over 100 billion neurons), fruit flies only have 100,000, making these little insects ideal subjects for a neurological study of this nature. In a unique twist, researchers discovered that Notch (the first catalyst in a pathway’s development) is affected by alcohol consumption. Likewise, alcohol also induced the dopamine-2 receptor which produces the “feel-good” sensation.
So, simply put, alcohol hijacks this memory pathway to create unnatural cravings (the result of a chemical mutation).
Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
Always remember that alcohol does not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol abuse or addiction troubles today.