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Alcoholics’ brains need to work harder to empathize with other people in pain, a study shows



People who go out with alcohol need to work harder than normal with their brains to feel empathy for others who are in pain, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Sussex observed the brain functions of 71 volunteers from the United Kingdom and France as they set out on a task of perceiving pain.

Half of the people in the study were classified as overeating and half were not, the researchers said. All volunteers were sober during the test.

The definition of a drinker is a person who consumes the equivalent of three-quarters a bottle of wine or two and a half pint camp per session.

Drinkers regularly show greater signs of empathy-related brain dysfunction than those who do not drink alcohol regularly.

They also struggle more than those who do not drink alcohol when trying to “perceive the perspective of another person experiencing pain,”

; the authors say.

People who go out with alcohol need to work harder than normal with their brains to feel empathy for others who are in pain, according to a new study.  Spare image

People who go out with alcohol need to work harder than normal with their brains to feel empathy for others who are in pain, according to a new study. Spare image

Volunteers were shown a series of images (pictured) showing painful limb injuries and asked to imagine that this was happening to them or someone else.

Volunteers were shown a series of images (pictured) showing painful limb injuries and asked to imagine that this was happening to them or someone else.

In the task, the participants were shown an image of an injured limb and had to imagine that the part of the body was either theirs or someone else’s.

The volunteers then had to state how much pain they thought was related to the injury shown in the image.

DRINK-DRINK: AT LEAST 2.1 OZ PURE ALCOHOL PER MONTH

Drinking alcohol has a specific definition – it does not go out for a hard night.

The drinker is a person who consumes more than 60 grams of pure alcohol in one sitting at least once a month.

That’s about three-quarters of a bottle of wine, or 2ints a pint of lager.

According to the NHS, drinking is more than:

  • 8 units of alcohol in one session for men
  • 6 units of alcohol in one session for women

About 30 percent of all people over the age of 15 who drink alcohol in Britain and France meet the criteria for “overeating,” according to the study’s authors.

‘[Bing-drinkers] it took longer to react, and the scan revealed that their brains needed to work harder – to use more neural resources – to assess how intensely another person would feel pain, the team wrote.

In fact, they were “significantly slower” than non-drinkers – it took 2.4 seconds to respond to pain in imaginary strangers, compared to 2.07 seconds for non-drinkers.

This suggests that drinkers’ brains must work much harder to process the pain of others.

The study revealed more widespread dysfunction in the brains of drinkers associated with empathy than previously realized.

The visual area of ​​the brain, which is involved in recognizing parts of the body, shows unusually high levels of activation in binges.

This was not true of non-drinkers who looked at the same images.

When alcoholics were asked to imagine the injured part of the body in the photo as their own, their assessment of pain did not differ from that of colleagues who did not drink alcohol.

The difference came when they tried to imagine that the limb belonged to someone else.

Professor Teodora Duka of the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex has been studying the effects of excessive alcohol consumption for years.

Drinking alcohol is defined as consuming more than 60 grams of pure alcohol – equivalent to about three-quarters of a bottle of wine or 2 pint of lager – at least once in the last 30 days, she said.

About 30 percent of all adults over the age of 15 who drink alcohol in the UK and France meet the “overeating” criteria.

“I have gathered strong evidence of the widespread way in which drinking alcohol is linked to brain dysfunction in areas that maintain self-control and attention,” she explained.

The aim of this study was to find out whether alcoholics show less empathy than non-drinkers – and they found that to be true.

“Decreased empathy in drunks can make drinking easier, as it can dull the perception of suffering for oneself or others while drinking,” Duka said.

“An area of ​​the brain called the Fusiform Body Area, which is associated with recognizing body parts, shows hyperactivity in drinkers in a situation where feelings of empathy are experienced.”

People who drink alcohol regularly show signs of empathy-related brain dysfunction than those who do not drink alcohol regularly.  Spare image

People who drink alcohol regularly show signs of empathy-related brain dysfunction than those who do not drink alcohol regularly. Spare image

Dr Charlotte Ray of the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex said the results were “surprising”.

“Our data show that drinkers need to work harder to feel empathy for other people who are in pain,” Rae said, adding that “they need to use more resources in terms of higher brain activity. than non-drinkers “.

This means that in everyday life, people who drink alcohol may struggle to perceive the pain of others as easily as people who do not drink unnecessarily.

“It’s not that drinkers feel less empathy – they just have to put in more brain resources to be able to do it,” Ray said.

“However, in certain circumstances, when resources become limited, drinkers may struggle to participate in an empathetic response from others.”

The findings are published in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical.


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