Eli5 If alcohol is a poison why does it make us feel good?

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Eli5 If alcohol is a poison why does it make us feel good?

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I don’t know what you’re talking about, alcohol always makes me suffer when I put it on wounds

It floods your brain with dopamine, the happiness chemical that our brains uses to tell us we’re doing a good job.

Alcohol hacks that system. It’s still your dopamine, you’re just using tomorrow’s supply for today. Which is fine if you’re only doing it a little bit, but leaves you short long-term.

It also does bad things to your liver, etc, but that’s where the poison part comes in.

Alcohol makes you suffer due to many reasons:

1) dehydration: alcohol dehydrates anything is touches. It removes the water from the cells and hence destroying it sometimes. This is one of the reasons why it is called as disinfecting agent. This also makes your body have less water where it needs to have. Thereby hampering a lot of important functions.

2) neurological agent: alcohol changes the chemistry of your nervous system, thereby blocking it slowing down your nervous system. Your perception and reaction both slow down. Hence your brain is confused, because there is a level of de-synchronisation in your motor nervous system (responsible for movement).

3) metabolism: alcohol is a fuel for the body, in the sense that cells can convert the alcohol to carbohydrates for energy. But this also is done mostly in your liver. If this process (metabolisation of alcohol) is slow, alcohol stays in your blood and keeps showing its side effects.

However, alcohol makes you feel good because:

1) it slows down your nervous system thereby reducing the distress signals and sensory overload in the system. It slows both the good and the bad things in the nervous system. This makes your brain and spinal cord less stressed and perception of important yet distressing signals are reduced. Your brain suddenly thinks your body is doing great because there are less things concerning. This is one of the reasons why your body feels more capable when you are under influence.

2) your body needs some time to absorb the alcohol into your blood. This means there is a delay between when you consume alcohol and your blood alcohol level actually reaching levels where your body is completely “down”. Until that time, the length of alcohol is considerable enough to make you feel great but not enough to dehydrate you and make you feel bad.

if alcohol is a poison, why do we use it to sterilize wounds or where you get injections?

If you drink enough quickly enough you can die directly from ethanol intoxication.

Excluding vomit aspiration, or passing out into a pool, etc….

A region of your brain, the Area Postrema, monitors blood for various toxins. It will induce vomiting in most cases, as most toxins are from something you ate.

One can drink enough to numb the Area Postrema so it doesn’t do its job.

So smaller doses numb other areas of the brain–this can be interpreted as “feeling good. ” maybe like a cheap valium, it can help anxiety.

Because they shut off our logical brains and leave the rewarding centres up and running, not thinking feels good.

“Poison” isn’t necessarily the opposite of something that produces a good feeling. The body has means of breaking down internally produced ethenol into something harmless, but when we drink the chemical in large amounts it overwhelms that defense mechanism and allows the drug into our brains. The result is a short-term good feeling which is terrible for your health over the long term.

Lots of things make us feel good. Mushrooms don’t produce drugs to get you high, they produce them as a defense mechanism. Peppers create capsaicin for the same reason.