Directed at the politicians who want the votes of young drinkers and so far have enabled spaces for it, they should know that:
Repeated alcohol consumption during adolescence can affect brain functions in future generations, which could put their offspring at risk of diseases such as depression, anxiety and metabolic disorders. The amygdala seems to play a role in excessive alcohol consumption by being damaged by repeated episodes of intoxication and withdrawal. Alcoholism is associated with an attenuation of activation in the brain networks responsible for emotional processing, including the amygdala. The protein kinase C-epsilon in the amygdala seems to be critical for the development of disorders due to excessive intake of ethanol.
“Excessive alcohol consumption in adolescents is not only dangerous for adolescents’ brain development, but it can also affect the brains of their future children,” says Toni R. Pak, associate professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Loyola University in Chicago School of Medicine in the United States.
In a study conducted by this department, they found “159 changes in the genes of the children of mothers who drank, 93 changes in the genes of the children of fathers who consumed alcohol in excess and 244 changes in the genes of children whose mothers and fathers both were exposed to the exessive alcohol consumption.”
The research is the first to show a molecular pathway on the reason why excessive alcohol consumption by either parent can cause changes in the neurological health of later generations, according to the authors. Nicotine has the effect of acetylcholine. Both go to neuronal receptors, but once the drug dose has been increased, these receptors lose receptor efficacy and more and more drugs are needed. The brain no longer reaches its normal level and there is emptiness, unease, discomfort at the lack of the natural substance, acetylcholine.
Nicotine also affects outside the brain, increasing the heart rate, increasing tension, skin ages due to its vasoconstrictor effect that decreases its irrigation and therefore its nutrition; and in short, it puts the user in a fighting attitude. That is why the shy need it, it puts them at a level of stress necessary to decide, a pleasure in of itself for those who have no mental means at that time to get out of a situation.
It is not enough to look at the phone, you have to be hooked for three hours. And, like all drugs, including hard and soft ones, certain tasks are left with the brain no longer interpreting them as a reward: studying, a face-to-face conversation, doing homework, these are no longer rewards. Addictive behaviors constitute as a mental disorder, as scientific research and neurosciences have shown. There are neurobiological and environmental processes involved in the behavior of addictions to both substances (tobacco, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol …) and non-substances (gambling, sex, food …) and many thousands in marketing to drive children from the age of twelve to a gambling addiction.
The person who resorts to addition, of any gender, and becomes addicted is because they lack the mental or emotional resources, or the emotional environment, or they do not know how to curb the pressures of their environment and, surely, has little breadth of the menu that life offers us to enjoy. This is manifested when life requires us to use all of our resources. The addict lacks resources and defends themselves by reducing their emotionality.
“The reason that addiction is questioned as a mental disorder may be due, among other reasons, to the ignorance of the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie these behaviors and that research in neurosciences has only begun to clarify,” explains Nora Vokow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States. In her opinion, “the concept of addiction as a disorder of the mind does not satisfy the values deeply rooted in public opinion about self-determination and personal responsibility that explain the use of drugs by these addicted people as a voluntary and hedonistic act, something unrealistic.”
It is not true that dogs are smoked or taken for personal freedom because the brain is trapped and the mechanisms of pleasure and learning are broken. But drugs are also ideologies, and dangerous ones, as Cervantes already showed. “Don Quixote” saw reality through books. Some catastrophes and crimes of wars and revolutions originate from a few ideology addicts, as Don Quixote follows some readings, although now, not chivalry; but, everything they see refers to their ideology.
José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis