Whether you plan to toast the New Year with champagne or liquor, every alcoholic drink will have one thing in common – the mind-altering molecule ethanol.
This chemical is responsible for simultaneously slowing down the brain and releasing a number of stimulants, giving rise to the feeling of being drunk.
A new Reactions video reveals the many ways alcohol affects the brain, leading to impaired thoughts, sound and light sensitivity, and even ‘blackouts.’

Whether you plan to toast the New Year with champagne or liquor, every alcoholic drink will have one thing in common – the mind-altering molecule ethanol. A new Reactions video reveals the many ways alcohol affects the brain
Whether you plan to toast the New Year with champagne or liquor, every alcoholic drink will have one thing in common – the mind-altering molecule ethanol. A new Reactions video reveals the many ways alcohol affects the brain

‘Booze all contains the same molecule that messes with your mind,’ the video from the American Chemical Society explains.
And this molecule – ethanol – is both ‘where the party gets started’ and where it ‘slows down.’
According to the video, ethanol binds to the GABA and NMDA receptors.
When it binds to the GABA receptor, it causes neural message firing to slow, making you feel calm.
And, by blocking the NMDA receptors, it can cause you to feel tired, and even interfere with memory, the researchers explain.
‘The more ethanol you have, the less you’ll remember, and this is what can cause blackouts,’ the video explains.
While this is all happening, the ethanol also causes the brain to release stimulants: norepinephrine, adrenaline and cortisol.
According to the researchers, these work to ‘hype you up.’

As a result, your airways will open up and more oxygen reaches the brain, in turn enhancing your senses, including your perception of sound and light.
The ‘feel good’ chemical dopamine also gets released, helping you to feel as though you’re having a good time.

Ethanol binds to the GABA and NMDA receptors. When it binds to the GABA receptor, it causes neural message firing to slow, making you feel calm. And, by blocking the NMDA receptors, it can cause you to feel tired, and even interfere with memory, the researchers explain
Ethanol binds to the GABA and NMDA receptors. When it binds to the GABA receptor, it causes neural message firing to slow, making you feel calm. And, by blocking the NMDA receptors, it can cause you to feel tired, and even interfere with memory, the researchers explain

But, the ethanol also impairs certain pathways in the brain, preventing it from getting enough energy to operate at full speed.
This is what impairs thought processes and can have a hand in making bad decisions, the video explains.
The ethanol also acts like a ‘bouncer’ for some hormones, including an antidiuretic hormone.
This, in part, makes you feel as though you need to urinate more frequently.
Some of the effects, however, can be far more dangerous.

Alcohol also alters a number of the functions that keep you alive, including the pumping of blood through the body, breathing, and body temperature, according to the video
Alcohol also alters a number of the functions that keep you alive, including the pumping of blood through the body, breathing, and body temperature, according to the video

According to the video, ethanol slows down parts of the brain in charge of muscle movement, which can lead to clumsy behaviour.
And, alcohol also alters a number of the functions that keep you alive, including the pumping of blood through the body, breathing, and body temperature.
The ethanol can impair the temperature regulator, and cause you to feel warm even if it’s freezing outside.
When these stimulant effects eventually wear off, the GABA and NMDA effects that had been building during that time leave you feeling tired and forgetful.
But, to prevent some of the negative effects, the video says having a full stomach can help.
This will slow the absorption of ethanol through the stomach walls. dailymail.co.uk




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