Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Tuesday 28 March |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Dedë Maçaj
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Science says alcohol won’t help you forget. In fact, it will make you remember

web-drinking-bottles-alcoholism- Axel Bueckert-shutterstock_284143052

Shutterstock/Axel Bueckert

Daniel Esparza - published on 02/20/17

Evasion is only possible in the short term

Need an idea for Lenten almsgiving?

Help us spread faith on the internet. Would you consider donating just $10, so we can continue creating free, uplifting content?

Make a Lenten donation here

If you drink to forget, then forget about it. Studies carried out both at the University of Texas at Austin (in 2011) and John Hopkins University in Baltimore (this year) confirm that even if alcohol will indeed make you forget certain things (such as what were you doing the night you got drunk), it will, on the other hand, increase your capacity to remember certain other things. As repeated, exposure to ethanol (that is, alcohol) “enhances synaptic plasticity in a key area in the brain.” In English, that means that even if you forget certain things (such as where you left your keys, or someone’s name) while drinking, at a subconscious level you are indeed acquiring memories and building habits that become patterns.

Researchers at John Hopkins divided laboratory mice into two groups. One group had only water to drink for two hours and the other group had only alcohol. Right after that, both groups were exposed to a sound that was followed by an electric shock. The next day, the rodents heard the same sound, only this time such exposure was not followed by the discharge. The results showed that mice that had alcohol were more frightened than those who only had water: they remembered the electric discharge better. That is to say, alcohol perpetuates the sensation of fear, as it intercepts a neurotransmitter (glutamate) that is involved in the extinction of certain memories. So, yes, alcohol might help you evade your short-term woes, but it won’t erase the effects of any past traumas.

If you want to read the whole study, you can click here.

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.