The Psychological effects of alcohol.

Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2015 04:30 am
Has anyone on here ever experienced a so called "emotional hangover"? I ask because I'm interested in the impact that drinking has on our emotions, especially a few hours after when we're hungover.

I was hungover yesterday after a night of drinking, and throughout the day I noticed I was much more sensitive emotionally. I was also more sensitive to the emotions of others. I think I'm often quite egocentric; other people are more often a cause for irritation for me than a cause for compassion and understanding, as awful as that sounds! But yesterday, I was much more concerned about the needs of others and their emotional realities. I was weird, but not in a bad way. I actually think it was a really good experience.

Has anyone else experienced a similar alteration in emotional sensitivity when they've been hungover? Also does anyone on here have an understanding of why it happens? I realise that alcohol alters brain chemistry and that this is what causes the affective changes, but what specifically in the brain is changing?

I actually in some ways prefer to be in a more emotionally vulnerable state. I think it increases out compassion not just for others but also for ourselves.

This might sound really bizarre! Most of what I've read about "emotional hangovers" are concerned about "surviving" them and ways of getting over them faster. But I actually enjoyed my increased sensitivity. It allowed me to see things in different ways. My thought process was much more vivid, and the emotional content of my thoughts were more compelling as a result.

Anyone had any similar experiences?

Also, is it at all possible to increase this sensitivity without alcohol?
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Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2015 07:38 am
Alcohol reduces serotonin levels in the brain when under its influence. And according to this below, remains affected for sometime thereafter:



We examined tryptophan and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) levels in the blood after consumption of alcohol. Forty-five minutes after drinking, whole blood serotonin concentration was significantly reduced, whereas no changes were observed in tryptophan level. The diurnal rhythm of 5-HT in subjects who the day before had drunk alcohol was quite different from the control group, but very similar to that of patients with depression. The results strongly suggest that the mechanism of depression after alcohol drinking may be related to serotonin."

In your case, it could be that though your levels of serotonin were reduced the next day, as it was being replenished it resulted in a perceptible elevation of your mood as levels returned to normal.
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