Study: Drinking To Forget Your Troubles Just Doesn’t Bloody Work

Drowning your sorrows is never a good idea.

Woman drinking red wine
Drink to forget? Drowning your sorrows is a BAD idea Image Getty

A study has conformed a damning statistic about how drinking effects memory, and if you weren’t committed to finishing Dry January, you will be after reading this.

For decades, it was thought that drinking alcohol helped you forget traumatic experiences, but new data has now come to light which might be about to disprove that particular myth for good.

According to a study published in the Translational Psychiatry journal, ‘drowning your sorrows’ is the last thing you should be doing if you want to forget things.

A scientific test conducted on mice showed that alcohol didn’t have any negative effect of the rodents’ memories whatsoever.

A Detox beer unlike any other.
Detox Beer

The test saw mice split into two groups. One set was given water, while the other was given alcohol. They were all then subjected to a musical tones and an electric shock – representing the painful memory – and then brought back the next day.

From then on, the mice from the alcohol group froze when they heard the tones over 50% of the time, while the water group were less successful at linking the notes to the shock, and froze only 40% of the time.

Of course, the effects have yet to be tested on humans, but the results have led the experts to believe that drink doesn’t make people forget memories at all.

More importantly perhaps, the evidence also suggesting that drink may in fact trigger more details of painful experiences suffered in the past.

The cast of World's End downing pints of beer
Image Universal Pictures

“If the effects of alcohol on memories to fearful responses are similar in humans to what we observe in mice, then it seems that our work helps us better understand how traumatic memories form and how to target better therapies for people in therapy for PTSD,” says professor Norman Haughey from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He added: “In fact, binge drinking or other attempts to use alcohol to self-medicate could be sabotaging any therapy efforts.”

So there you have it – if you’re trying to forget a traumatic experience, the worst thing you can possibly do is reach for the bottle.

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Loaded staff writer Harry Fletcher has covered news, sport and entertainment for several major websites across the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @Harry__Fletcher.