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Alcohol takes a rapid toll on the brain, as most of us know, and caution is required not so well known is the blow our brains make much later, after the alcohol has left the system.
The latest research on this topic has been a meta-analysis of several studies, the brainwashing hours to a day after heavy drinking with few exceptions showed that our cognitive abilities, such as attention and memory, are weakened, even though alcohol in the blood is no longer measurable
"Impaired performance in these skills reflect inferior concentration and focus, decreased memory, and reduced Response times, "said Craig Gunn, lead investigator at the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath.
Why this happens? It's all about how competitive our bodies and brains are from the chemical attack associated with heavy drinking (defined by the CDC as more than four drinks for women or more than five for men). Alcohol is a powerful diuretic that causes the body to lose a lot of fluids, up to four times as much as drinking, which leads to dehydration. To compensate for this, the organs attract as much fluid as possible and allow the brain to fight to stay hydrated. As a result, the brain's dura ̵
While all of this fluid leaves our body, magnesium, potassium, sodium and other nutrients necessary for stable cognitive functions are also flushed out. These nutrients are not immediately replaced once the alcohol is consumed, and the depleted membranes do not return immediately. The recovery from the ethanol siege takes time.
The brain will not regress for many hours, perhaps more than a day, in some cases. And attention, memory, reaction time, and decision-making skills are fully occupied only when this happens. To believe that we can jump directly into our regular routines and work as usual is unrealistic, as this research analysis shows.
"Our findings show that a hangover can have serious consequences for the pursuit of everyday activities such as driving and job skills such as concentration and memory," added senior author Sally Adams from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath added.
The research offers a few takeaways. The most obvious is that heavy drinking is simply a bad idea for many reasons – among them the toll it puts on our bodies and brains. Another is that if we drink it is foolish, too think that we will not suffer the consequences of headaches and nausea. "We will not be well present in our relationships, our brains will not work as we want."
In other words, drinking is not just about the time you spend drinking. It's all about the time it takes to recover, and our brains are recovering more slowly than we think.
The study was published in the journal Addiction
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