Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 05 August |
The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

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

Shutterstock/Axel Bueckert

Daniel Esparza - published on 02/20/17

Evasion is only possible in the short term

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.

Tags:
Addiction
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
3
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
4
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
5
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
6
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde’s beautiful message as she drops out of TV show
7
Gianmarco Tamberi AND Mutaz Essa Barshim
Cerith Gardiner
This Olympic event captures the true meaning of the Games
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.