Thank You, Science…Now Let’s Drink.
Scientists report that drinking alcohol produces feelings of pleasure! Actually, the headline in the Sidney Morning Herald reporting on newly released findings of a study was: "Science Proves Alcohol is Fun".
This headline isn't exactly accurate is it. A more accurate headline would be "Science Discovers Why Alcohol is fun". We all already knew that alcohol was "fun" and produced feelings of pleasure. But now we learn that upon drinking alcohol endorphins are released into the brain delivering feelings of pleasure and reward.
In a way this is sad new for me. I always believed that I WAS much more fun when I drink and that the folks around me were laughing with me. Now it turns out that I likely only FELT like I was more fun when I drank and it's equally likely that people around me were laughing AT me and not WITH me. So much for a better life though science.
Bottom line of these new finders is this:
"Alcohol is addictive because it releases endorphins, which are the body's way of making us feel pleasure and reward, the researchers showed. The stress and pain-relieving proteins are naturally released in the brain and other tissues, producing similar effects to opiates such as morphine."
Despite my discovery that I'm probably not as fun as I thought I was once I had a couple drinks in me, there does appear to be a pretty big upside to this discovery if science and researchers can get their act together:
"The discovery of the particular brain regions where the endorphin release takes place could help scientists develop new treatments to help people overcome alcohol addiction."
Good news. I like the idea of new treatments for alcohol addiction that might solve so many problems for so many people. However, when I read quotes like that above, my tendency to immediately imagine dystopian futures gets the best of me as I imagine the makings of a scary scenario whereby Big Brother somehow develops anti-Fun drugs to keep the populace in check or perhaps drugs that work on the brains of soldiers that make them more and more fearless, particularly once they engage in battle.
This is my own issue…my tendency to lean toward the dystopian rather than the utopian.
In any case, I think it's wonderful news that science now knows why alcohol is such fun and pleasure-producing. I'm happy that science has provided us with an explanation as to why, upon drinking wine together with friends, the conversation becomes much more interesting as the drinkers decide it might be fun to say that thing they would not have otherwise been willing to say in public.
Thank you, Science.