Understanding Our Immune System and Drinking Behaviors

There are 7 colors in the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, violet, and green. All pretty colors, but green sure is a busy one. Trees are green, money is green, Kermit the frog is green, even people are green with envy(though this hue isn’t as commonly favorable). For some, maybe reading about all of Bill Gates’ green money in Forbes Magazine evokes the green monster out of them. Or maybe wishing they were in shape like fitness models is what provides their iridescence. Some like myself are jealous of children and their innocence, a simplicity internally longed for by most. I mean let’s face it, adulthood can be exhausting.      

Maintaining the constant input/output that responsibility in 2019 requires is quite wearisome. Often times the days turn to weeks as those weeks blend to months, and the cycle continues. Life becomes this monotonous revolving door of work and sleep, work and sleep. Chop wood and carry water, chop wood and carry water. So as the end of the day approaches, 5 o’clock becomes “happy hour” for a number of reasons. It’s not just because it’s the end of the work day, although that has A LOT to do with it.

Many of us begin looking forward to the end of our day because we can morally indulge in our anticipated drinking behaviors. “Finally something to take the stress of the day off”. The time to imbibe is happiest hour of the day for many because of this mentality. Although a true alcoholic will eventually stop waiting for that hour, deciding that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. Or that person may be able to wait, but they’re possibly miserable until the hour hand strikes. Even most regular folk have a biological clock inside telling them when the beckoning hour has arrived, thus spotlighting the association of our immune system to our drinking behaviors.  

Our Not-So-Immune System

For starters, the mental and physical aspects of our being are more intertwined than most of us give credit to. When we exhaust ourselves throughout the day with the tasks of life, our brain is working at full capacity to produce everything we are asking of it all at once. The mind, just like the body, is like a battery that eventually has to be recharged for maximum efficiency. Many condition their drinking patterns to be the ends to that mean. Sadly, far too many abuse this mentality and create a means to their end.   

Moving forward, new studies from the University of Adelaide have shown there to be a correlation between what they label as  “tired brain” and the drinking behavior of the average person. Using mice, scientists have determined through their research that the brain has its own immune system. The patterns in the mice depicts them more frequently craving alcohol in the latter hours of the evening.

Jon Jacobsen, a PhD student at the university as well as the lead author on the topic matter states, “Alcohol is the world’s most commonly consumed drug, and there is a greater need than ever to understand the biological mechanisms that drive our need to drink alcohol.” In recent years, alcoholism has increased dramatically leaving a need for prevention and treatment services more than ever.

Our Drinking Behaviors

Slums of people become alcoholics everyday from their innocent drinking behaviors under the moon quickly evolving into shameful stupors throughout daylight. It is only once they have accepted their chemical dependency, beginning to move forward, that they finally permit their mind/bodies to recharge.

For the users and abusers, slowing down on any questionable drinking behaviors is the best remedy for reattaining sound mind and body. However, for the alcoholic, dropping it altogether is how we recover. For people like us, drinking alcohol is just a symptom of our alcoholic thinking. Ridding the alcohol from our immune system will be one of the most effective ways to treat that symptom though. Treatment services/prevention can be looked at as the charging station we plug into for our immune systems. Drinking too much or continuing poor drinking behaviors can lead to:

  • Lost Careers
  • Failed Relationships
  • Gutted Finances   
  • Shame & Guilt
  • Life Threatening Circumstances

That’s just the top of the barrel too. The problems that manifest themselves from the thinking drinking behaviors of an alcoholic are issues that nobody should have to deal with. It has the potential to be a long, miserable road that will only put the brain into further despair if given the chance through detrimental patterns.

Biological Susceptibility

According to Professor Mark Hutchinson, “Our study is part of an emerging field which highlights the importance of the brain’s immune system in the desire to drink alcohol. Given the drinking culture that exists in many nations around the world, including Australia, with associated addiction to alcohol and related health and societal issues, we hope our findings will lead to further studies.” Mr. Hutchinson is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide, as well as the leader of the Neuroimmune Pharmacology lab that the bulk of the research has been done in.

This research is supported not only by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), but as well as the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Alcohol is the most highly sought after recreational drug across the globe, whether alcoholic thinking is a component or not. The bravery in a bottle has gone through trials like prohibition in the States and still kept the country beckoning for more. It demonstrates the power something so simple can have. For any avid drinker, regardless of how you label yourself, understanding this power is sometimes the only way to avoid it consuming you.