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Our Brain on Alcohol

 

Drinking is a funny old game. Most of the time it’s just that: funny! But it can also take us down a number of different pathways, and trying to find the causes is sometimes a bit… blurry. Ever questioned why one night you were laughing, dancing and full of the joys of life, while another night you lost your phone, made a move on your best mate’s girlfriend, then passed out in the bathroom? Let’s see if we can sober up and find some answers!

Alcohol affects the chemical balance of our brains, specifically by changing the levels of neurotransmitters, which send signals from one neuron to another, controlling thoughts, behaviour and emotions. Alcohol also boosts the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which causes slow movements and slurred speech, lowers the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate to similar effect, and increases the chemical dopamine, which creates the joyful feelings we’re all familiar with after a few glasses of wine.

Another result caused by drinking is that the Hypothalamus, the part of the brain controlling hormone release, is depressed such that sexual desires are increased, though performance is not, so those under influence may not be able to deliver on their promises. Also affected is the Cerebellum, the part of the brain controlling balance and movement, the reason that walking straight is not such an easy task after a few too many sambucas.                                                                                                   

Another thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is that alcohol is a depressant, which will ultimately slow us down. When you are drinking responsibly, i.e. not too quickly and not too often, then this shouldn’t be such a problem, but it’s something to watch. Drinking regularly can also lower the levels of serotonin in your brain, the chemical that regulates mood.

Taking things at the right pace, savouring drinks rather than downing them, and knowing when to have a break, are some of the best ways of controlling your experience and allowing yourself to enjoy great nights with fun people. The Budapest Beer Bike is all about just that, and a night spent beerbiking is a fantastic way of seeing Budapest, meeting lovely people and having fun!

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