Monday, January 31, 2005

alcohol is not sexy

"Alcohol not only affects judgment, it also affects memory. It impairs neither short-term recall for what just happened nor existing long-term memories. Rather, it disrupts the processing of recent experiences into long-term memories. Thus, the day after being intoxicated, heavy drinkers may not recall whom they met or what they said or did the night before. This memory blackout stems partly from an inability to transfer memories from the intoxicated to the sober state. Blackouts after drinking may also result from the way alcohol suppresses REM sleep - recall that people deprived of REM sleep have difficulty fixing their day's experiences into permanent memories. Prolonged and excessive drinking can also affect cognition by shrinking the brain, which MRI scans show is especially striking in women, who have less of a stomach enzyme that digests alcohol.

Alcohol has another intriguing effect on consciousness: It reduces self=awareness. Compared with people who feel good about themselves, those who want to suppress their awareness of failures or shortcomings are more likely to drink. Losing a business deal, a game, or a romance will sometimes elicit a drinking binge.

Alcohol also focuses one's attention on the immediate situation and away from any future consequences. This facilitates urges that a person might otherwise resist. In surveys, over half of rapists acknowledge drinking before committing their offense. The effect reaches onto college campuses. Sexually active university students are less likely to use condoms when intoxicated. University women under alcohol's influence find an attractive but sexually promiscuous man a more appealing potential date than they do when sober. It seems, surmise Sheila Murphy and her colleagues (1998), "that when people have been drinking, the restraining forces of reason may weaken and yield under the pressure of their desires."

same source as below


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