Men are twice as likely as women to become alcoholics and now scientists believe they know why. Researchers from Columbia and Yale universities studied the underlying biology of how drinking affects the brain. They found that consuming beer and wine on a night out gave men a far greater ‘pleasure rush’ than women. The team compared a group of male and female college-age social drinkers in a laboratory test of alcohol consumption. After consuming an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, each participant underwent a specialized positron emission tomography (PET) scan, an imaging technique that can measure the amount of alcohol-induced dopamine release. Dopamine has multiple functions in the brain, but is important in this context because of its pleasurable effects when it is released by rewarding experiences, such as sex or drugs. Despite similar consumptions of alcohol, the men had greater dopamine release than women. This increase was found in the ventral striatum, an area in the brain strongly associated with pleasure, reinforcement and addiction formation. The findings were reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Senior author Dr Anissa Abi-Dargham, added: ‘Another important observation from this study is the decline in alcohol-induced dopamine release with repeated heavy drinking episodes. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1321767/Why-men-twice-likely-alcoholics–drinking-sparks-pleasure-male-brains.html
People who have never had an addiction
don’t understand how hard it can be.