Does Alcohol help Us Remember Better?


A recent research has concluded that intake of alcohol actually triggers certain parts of the brain to remember better. In case you thought that the first statement of the article shuns the age old belief that drinking actually renders our active memory incapacitated; hold your peace. We are talking about memory on the subconscious level. It is true that alcohol intake actually harms our active memory or the ability to remember things in the recent past. For example, where we have left the car keys or what is the name of the wife’s favourite daily soap!

Conducted by the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, University of Texas, Austin; this research actually says that alcohol helps in the increased release of dopamine. Dopamine has been called the ‘learning transmitter’; i.e. it helps the brains remember the pleasure that we received from a certain activity. Therefore, when we drink, our brain cells are exposed to ethanol which in turn releases dopamine. Dopamine helps us remember the evening better. For example, facts such as we enjoyed our drinks, we went to a pub and we hung out with our friends. Increasing exposure of dopamine to alcohol allows alcohol to act as the enabler and overtake the dopaminergic system and makes these memories stronger in our minds and slowly we form permanent habits out of these experiences.

The purpose of the research was to see if alcohol actually helps us remember better and in what way. According to neurobiologist Hitoshi Morikawa, this research might also help in formulating an anti-addiction drug that will fight the ability of alcohol to create memories of the drinking experience in our subconscious memory.

Therefore, the next time you pick up the glass thinking that one drink will not hurt you or turn you into an alcoholic; think twice! Many such first drinks and your mind will remember it and then subtly influence you to turn it into a nasty habit!

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