Why Is This Important?
Because it seems that being drunk on love is actually a thing.
Long Story Short
A new study has confirmed that alcohol shares significant characteristics with oxytocin, the hormone known to play a role in pair bonding and feelings of intimacy.
How many pop songs contain the word ‘love’ and allude to it being some sort of incredible new high? Well, there could be some truth to that, as scientists have confirmed that the love hormone oxytocin has the same effect on you as alcohol does.
The study, conducted at the University of Birmingham and recently published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews discovered that while they target different receptors in the brain, oxytocin and alcohol trigger a parallel response in our brain structure, specifically when it comes to how we deal with stress and anxiety.
The University of Birmingham School of Psychology’s Dr. Ian Mitchell says that both chemicals produce similar reactions on our GABA—gamma-Aminobutyric acid— neurotransmitters, which are the circuits in our prefrontal cortex responsible for controlling our levels of stress, fear and courage.
The result is that while under the influence of either alcohol or oxytocin we tend to become more generous, more trusting, more empathetic and more relaxed. That’s why when you find yourself three sheets to the wind, you always want to tell people “the truth” and reveal more personal information to them.
Both alcohol and oxytocin also reduce fear and anxiety, which means that while we feel great when we’re high on either of them, we’re also more likely to make decisions that we’ll regret later.
In any case, it seems that the next time you need some Dutch courage before a big presentation or a job interview, instead of reaching for the hip flask, consider having a cheeky fool around with your partner instead.