Drink and be merry: why alcohol makes us feel good, then doesn’t | Dean Burnett

By: Dean Burnett | Drink and be merry: why alcohol makes us feel good, then doesn’t | Dean Burnett | Neuroscience | The Guardian

With the festive season upon us, many of us will get through a lot of booze. But why do we consume it when it has undeniably negative effects?

If someone offered you a glass of mild poison, you’d decline. If they said “drink this, it’ll make it harder to walk, speak and remember things, and you’ll feel awful tomorrow”, you’d be even less keen. If they expected payment for it, you might even get annoyed at their audacity. You certainly wouldn’t be grateful for it, then buy yourself and them several more doses over the course of an evening. Nonetheless, this happens all the time.

Alcohol does all the things described above and more. Nonetheless, many people don’t let that put them off. With the festive season kicking off, alcohol consumption goes up. The parties (work and otherwise), time-off, social visits, the breakfast champagne, and so on. All these “festive tipples” add up to an increase in our intake of something that, if the dose is high enough, counts as a toxin.

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