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Loneliness Increases Alcohol Tolerance, May Explain "addiction"

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

    Mar 18, 2013
    USA / Europe
    I posted several studies in the past about the connection between stress hormones and "addiction", especially alcohol. This new study adds more evidence to that link and now also draws serotonin in the picture. Apparently, social creatures are much more sensitive to inebriation effects of alcohol while lonely/isolated ones take much higher amounts of alcohol to get drunk. The explanation is that serotonin levels are much higher in social/isolated organisms, and serotonin reduces the pro-GABA effects of alcohol, which are mainly responsible for the feeling of drunkenness. The higher serotonin (and thus lower dopamine) levels in stressed individuals match well with this other study on stress and alcohol (ab)use I posted recently.
    Stress Leads To Lower Dopamine And More Drinking

    So, the lonely/isolated creatures may simply need more alcohol to experience the same gregarious effects that make most people seek alcohol, and not so much seek alcohol due to "addiction". This would explain why anti-serotonin drugs like cyproheptadine have successfully been used to treat "addiction" and the withdrawal symptoms during abstinence.

    The Effect of Social Experience on Serotonergic Modulation of the Escape Circuit of Crayfish | Science
    Prior social experience affects the behavioral and neural responses to acute alcohol in juvenile crayfish | Journal of Experimental Biology
    Sociable crayfish get drunk more easily than loners | Journal of Experimental Biology

    "...‘How past social experience might shape the neurobehavioural effects of acute alcohol exposure is significantly understudied’, says Herberholz, who teamed up with his students Matthew Swierzbinski and Andrew Lazarchik to find out how inebriated crayfish behave. Intoxicating individual crayfish – which had previously been housed together – in tanks of dilute alcohol ranging from 0.1 to 1 mol l−1, members of the lab filmed the animals as they initially began walking aggressively on stiff straight legs, before switching to tail-flipping as they became more intoxicated, and finally losing control as they rolled on their backs like incapacitated humans. And the effects took hold much faster at the highest concentrations, with the intoxicated animals enthusiastically tail-flipping after 20 min in the strongest alcohol, while the animals that were bathed in the most dilute alcohol took almost 2 h to feel the effects. However, when the trio tested the effects of the most concentrated alcohol on crayfish that had been held in isolation for a week before their drinking spree, the animals were far less sensitive to the alcohol, taking 28 min to become inebriated and begin tail-flipping."

    "...As the inhibitions of the drunk socialised crayfish were loosened more than those of the drunken loners, Herberholz suspects that the alcohol has more of an impact on the GABA neurotransmitter, which inhibits behaviour, in the gregarious crayfish. He also speculates that isolation could make humans less sensitive to the effects of alcohol, leading them to consume more. Herberholz says, ‘Our study shows that social experience can change the sensitivity to acute alcohol’. He adds, ‘Inebriated people…could potentially have different responses to alcohol depending on their prior social experience’. And, although we are still a long way from confirming that social experience produces similar effects in the brains of inebriated mammals (including humans), Herberholz is optimistic that, one day, drunken crayfish could help us to develop better treatments and preventative measures to support humans suffering from alcohol abuse."
  2. Tarmander

    Tarmander Member

    Apr 30, 2015
    This runs kind of contrary to what I have been thinking recently. I went on a family vacation and drank alcohol for the first time in 4 or 5 years. I think the most I drank was a couple glasses of wine, and I really did not feel much of anything. I attributed this to better liver healthy from drinking coffee. Wouldn't good liver health work in the opposite way to this effect?
  3. X3CyO

    X3CyO Member

    Sep 19, 2016
    I can anecdotally agree. As a lonely PUFA kid I could out drink my friends who I rarely hungout with under the table who drank consistently.
    When taking pregnenolone I definitely lose tolerance. :cigar:o_O
  4. lvysaur

    lvysaur Member

    Mar 15, 2014
    100% agree.

    When I first started drinking beer, I began with hipster snob stuff (13% ABV, 1.5 liters) and even that didn't really get me drunk; this was with no buildup of tolerance, so it has to be attributed to other factors.

    For your convenience, that's almost 2 six packs. Nowadays 3 beers do me in.
  5. Frankdee20

    Frankdee20 Member

    Jul 13, 2017
    Yeah, as an INTP MBTI Type personality, I'm pretty isolated. Alcohol doesn't even numb me anymore. There's been times where I feel so bad, booze barely made any pro GABA effects.