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Posted on March 19th, 2018

Scientists find a correlation between prefrontal cortex and aggressive behavior after drinking

Scientists find a correlation between prefrontal cortex and aggressive behavior after drinking

For years, it has been believed that alcohol changes the way one behaves by making him or her aggressive. However, there has never been any concrete proof to substantiate this fact, particularly neuroimaging evidence. However, the researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have found a substantial proof that alcohol consumption can make an individual aggressive.

What’s more impressive is that the researchers have been able to identify the exact part of the brain that triggers this behavioral change. The new research, led by Thomas Denson and published in the journal ‘Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience,’ found that drinking alcohol causes changes in the working of the prefrontal cortex, a brain region responsible for controlling cognitive behavior, decision-making, social behavior, etc.

Alcohol leads to a drop in the activity of prefrontal cortex and other key brain regions

To conduct the study, researchers chose around 50 healthy young men and asked them to drink either vodka or placebo drinks with no alcohol. Thereafter, they were instructed to lie under a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and compete in a task used by the researchers over the last 50 years. This activity was done to check their level of aggression in response to provocation.

Since the participants were lying under the MRI scanner, it allowed researchers to see the parts of the brain triggered while performing the above-mentioned task. It enabled them to compare the difference in scans between both set of respondents—those who had consumed alcohol and those who had not.

The following are some of the common observations made by the researchers:

  • Provocation had no impact on the neural responses of the participants.
  • A dip was noticed in the activity of the prefrontal cortex of the brain during any aggressive behavior among those who consumed alcohol.
  • A similar effect was observed in the parts of the brain playing a role in reward—the caudate and ventral striatum.
  • A heightened activity level was noticed in the hippocampus, a brain region associated with memory.
  • A positive correlation was seen between dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity and alcohol-related aggression. The two regions are believed to support different behaviors in an individual like peace versus aggression. However, this completely depends on the state of a person—sobriety or intoxicated.

These results corroborate the neural basis of aggression suggested by the findings of the earlier studies. They suggest how any changes in the functioning of the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system and the reward-related regions can trigger anger. These also support a number of psychological theories of alcohol-related aggression.

Dealing with alcohol problem

Any amount of alcohol is dangerous for health. Therefore, one must take effective preventive measures to monitor his or her drinking habits. Though many indulge in alcohol with the aim to calm their agitated nerves and overcome any stress, the above findings are a wake-up call for such people. These findings clear many doubts pertaining to the dangerous implications of alcohol.

Alcoholism can affect any person, irrespective of gender, age, etc. One of the stepping stones for the effective recovery from alcoholism is detoxification, which expunges all toxins stored in the

In case you know someone who is dealing with alcohol addiction and is looking for help, contact the Arizona Detox Helpline to know more about the specialized detox centers in Arizona. Since an individual’s recovery can only begin after cleansing his or her body of all unwanted substances, the Arizona Detox Helpline helps you connect with some of the best detox centers in Arizona. Call us at our 24/7 detox helpline 866-593-8453 or chat online with one of our experts to connect with the best detox treatment centers in Arizona.