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Human Obsession with Alcohol

It’s not our fault! Previously humans drank alcohol by necessity, which scientists believe may have evolved our genetic predisposition to alcohol. Many humans are today born with a genetic desire to drink alcohol that dates back a very long time.

Genetic Obsession

From NPR News:

“You’ve got to remember [that] for thousands of years, if you lived in a town or a village, the water was pretty undrinkable. … [I]f you lived in ancient Athens or if you lived in ancient Babylon or Alexandria, you couldn’t drink the water, so wine was something that people drank from morning to night. Babies drank it; old people drank it; soldiers drank it; everybody drank wine all the time, and in order for them not to be falling down drunk by 10 in the morning, they mixed it with water and used it to sanitize or purify the water.”

Watered down wine was the equivalent of our water today, the effect is still felt today as alcohol production is growing each and every year. I am not advocating that drinking alcohol is bad, I merely want to reflect on the fact that many people are more susceptible to becoming alcoholics than others. If we have been drinking alcohol for over a thousand years, perhaps it’s in our DNA to love drinking. According to researchers in Texas, there is a string of DNA that identifies with those with alcohol dependence. After comparing thousands of brains and their tissue, they have discovered a specific set of DNA they believe to be connected to the misuse of alcohol.

Dr Sean Farris, also of Texas University said: ‘We hope our model can serve as a type of Wikipedia of alcohol dependence helping to break down the complexities of alcohol dependence and becoming a reference for future research into drug therapies.’

PsychoActive Obsession

Alcohol does not make you psychotic, that’s just a fancy term for something that affects your brain. Alcohol is a depressant which slows down your central nervous system. The addictive aspect that humans are obsessed with is the euphoria it can create, by activating GABA receptors and releasing dopamine. Essentially, the relaxation sensors in your brain are activated and dopamine which is associated with the feeling of euphoria comes rushing in.

Like anything that tickles the pleasure centers of your brain, it can be very addictive. Subconsciously we are always trying to experience pleasure or euphoria and many people can’t abstain from their urge to drink.

Facts: (courtesy of the NIH)

In 2014, 16.3 million adults were treated medically for alcohol abuse.

More than 10% of US Children live with a parent with alcohol problems.

In the USA someone dies from alcohol-related causes every 5 minutes

 

Never drink and drive. Consider being a good role model by drinking in moderation.

If you want to check your BAC, click here.

 

Sources:

(http://www.npr.org/2012/12/04/166186416/inventing-wine-the-history-of-a-very-vintage-beverage)

(https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics)

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