Oh God…. OH GOD.
No, it’s not Sunday morning and you’re not in church. You just woke up and remembered everything you did last night when drunk. These are the words we have all silently thought or muttered after a particularly memorable night. You wake up and recall with a pain in your head, and a knot in your stomach, every word you uttered unfiltered and every drunken, embarrassing instance you wish you could take back. Did I really do that… I couldn’t have said that. Oh, but you did. Rest assured you are not alone; we’ve all been there. Even better news, Science has our drunken, stumbling and loud-mouthed backs.
Saying things you never would sober:
You’ve been drinking, having a great time, but suddenly you feel yourself saying something you know isn’t quite right. Even if it’s truthful, you recognize you shouldn’t be speaking, but you just don’t care. Elite Daily states that this is because “the part of your brain that becomes affected first is the frontal cortex, which is where most of your ‘higher functions’ — your ability to do math, your understanding of social rules and your impulse control, for example — take place.” The more you drink, the less self-aware you’ll be as the night goes on.
Eating unhealthy (delicious) food:
Regardless of how you live your daily sober life, after a few drinks, the diet goes straight out the door, and with a firm kick too. It’s no surprise that college towns around the nation are known for their food joints that remain open until the early morning hours. After all, who loves eating more than college kids? Drunk college kids.
Dr. Howard Shapiro, a New York weight loss physician has done research on this topic and has a name for drunk eating. He has called it E-I-U or eating under the influence. Shapiro tells Fox News that “eating under the influence means you have too many drinks which lowers your blood sugar, making you hungry.” He goes on to explain that alcohol stimulates the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates things such as body temperature, circadian rhythms, and hunger. The triggering of the hypothalamus causes us to feel ravenous at a time when we may not normally be hungry. The best part of drunk eating is that you rarely feel regret for the calories and fat. Your mind is too busy attempting to comprehend the levels of delectable-deliciousness entering your mouth. Say thank you to your brain for that one.
It’s 11 a.m. and you’re searching for Advil as you reach for your phone. To your horror, you discover that medicine will not alleviate your troubles– you drunk texted your ex. Damage control time! As you sort through the messages in a hurried panic, you wonder how you could possibly have been so careless. Researcher Bruce Bartholow may not know of your troubles first hand, but certainly knows a lot on the subject that may be beneficial.
In a study, Bartholow discovered that alcohol silences the signal in our brains that warns us when we made a mistake. In the experiment, volunteers were given either alcohol, a placebo drink, or no alcohol at all. Then their brain activity was measured while they attempted a series of computer tasks that were designed to provoke errors. Bartholow stated, “It is very common for people to respond more slowly following an error, as a way of trying to regain self-control. That’s what we saw in our placebo group. The alcohol group participants didn’t do this.” In other words, when you are drinking you realize that a mistake has been made; it’s just of no consequence. Drunk you knew exactly what you were doing when you texted your ex. Drunk you just didn’t care.
As you nurse your hangover, and attempt to remedy any mistake you might have made the night before, go easy on yourself. Most of us are quick to forgive with the knowledge that we have all been there. There are reasons why we act a certain way when drunk; if science can explain and accept our minor transgressions, I’m sure your friends can too.