JUL 18, 2017 04:36 AM PDT

The Chemistry Behind the Buzz


Many people enjoy a cold beer on a hot day or a cocktail or glass of wine, and while the taste of certain drinks is appealing to many, for others, the pleasant buzz of a drink or two is also part of the attraction. That buzz comes from the kind of alcohol in spirits and other drinks: ethanol. In the brain, ethanol binds to two different receptors, GABA and NMDA. GABA receptors control behavior, so when the ethanol kicks in, there's a decrease in that inhibition and people loosen up a little. When it binds to NMDA, which controls fatigue and memory, a person can feel very upbeat and happy but will lose memories of what happens while they drink.

Ethanol also causes the brain to release cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, causing an increased heart beat and even hyperactivity. But wait, there's more! Dopamine, the feel good hormone is also released when we drink. Eventually, though, the effects wear off, and then the sudden drop in all of these hormones and neurotransmitters can make for a nasty time. One chemical ingested can cause all these reactions, and that can lead to problems if alcohol isn't being used responsibly. Paying attention to how much you drink, what you have to eat along with it, and staying hydrated are all important parts of making sure the chemical reactions caused by your celebration don't get the best of you.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 04, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 04, 2018
These Planets Have More Extreme Weather Than Earth
You might think that the weather can get nasty here on Earth, but it pales in comparison to the weather on other planets in the solar system. The weather c...
NOV 10, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 10, 2018
Heart Attack Or Panic Attack? Knowing When To Seek Help
Chest pain, shortness of breath, and feelings of impending doom are all symptoms representative of both heart attacks and panic attacks. For this reason, i...
DEC 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 05, 2018
Stretchable Ultrathin Electronic Skin Produced from a Desktop Printer
Electronic tattoos or e-tattoos are flexible polymer patches that can sense and transmit electrical signals. e-tattoos have great potential in advancing medical prosthetics and human-machine...
DEC 06, 2018
Videos
DEC 06, 2018
Stopping the Spread of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
This informative video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the problem of antibiotic resistance....
DEC 10, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 10, 2018
What To Expect During Your Stress Test
If you or a loved one has been scheduled for a treadmill stress test, you may be wondering what you can expect. The procedure is usually done in a hospital...
DEC 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2018
Learn More About How NASA Built the Parker Solar Probe
When NASA built the Solar Parker Probe to embark on its mission to study the Sun, they knew it’d need to be built with bleeding-edge technology to ma...
Loading Comments...