How much alcohol is too much? This question has been haunting scientists since time immemorial. Many studies and researches have been conducted over time to find out what the optimum limit for alcohol is. Though there are varied views on this topic, according to a recent study, a large glass of wine or a pint of beer has been identified as the alcohol limit to alter a person’s sense of agency or control. Sense of agency has been described as being in control, wherein a person is aware of the consequences of their actions.
First of a kind study to check sense of agency
The study, conducted by neuroscientists from the University of Sussex, was one of the first study on the effects of alcohol on a person’s sense of agency. Until now, most studies focused on the loss of inhibitory controls characterized by aggression, risky behavior, and impulsivity due to drunkenness. This study specifically focused on low doses of alcohol which did not cause obvious drunkenness.
Talking about the study, lead author, Dr Silvana De Pirro, said that the findings highlighted that even a pint of beer was enough to alter a person’s sense of agency. Therefore, the main question raised by the study was whether the current alcohol limit was genuinely safe specially in relation to driving and the social and legal responsibilities of drivers.
The participants of the study consumed cocktails containing alcohol quantities in proportion to their body mass index (BMI) which incidentally corresponded to either one or two pints of beer. They were given such cocktails with the intention of keeping their blood alcohol content (BAC) within the legal limit.
After that their sense of agency was measured by a process known as intentional binding which was used to study unconscious mechanisms. For example, when people think that an action is performed in response to a stimuli, when in reality it is the opposite, that is, the movement of a finger (voluntary action) is followed by a sound or lights (physical stimuli), it actually “binds” the two. This is known as volition. The neural mechanisms responsible for volition are also participants in generating the sense of agency.
Sense of agency measured indirectly
The sense of agency was measured on the basis of answers given by the subjects to one question – Did they feel in control and the level of control they felt? The answers given by the participants were effected by various reasoning prejudices such as the wish to match the researchers’ expectations, poor self-analysis, and even the inability to understand the question correctly.
The subjects were found to display a sense of over confidence, after consumption of the cocktail, which was identified as potentially risky behavior. This was due to exaggeration of the sense of agency caused by alcohol.
The quantity of alcohol, which was the safe limit for driving in England, produced a tighter binding between sensory stimuli and voluntary movements. Talking about the findings, Aldo Badiani, director of the Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre (SARIC), said that even though the quantity of alcohol in the cocktail was within the legal driving limit, the participants displayed an impaired sense of agency.
Treatment for alcohol
As the study demonstrated that the current prescribed alcohol limit did display an impaired sense of emergency, it is time that world governments looked into decreasing the alcohol limit for driving. Alcoholism not only causes physical and psychological harm to the user but also affects one’s personal and professional life along with their relationships with friends and family. Alcohol abuse and dependence are prevalent medical conditions that require a medically supervised detoxification. Detox is the first step towards sobriety in the recovery process.
If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol, then enrolling in a certified detox center can help set them on the path to recovery. To know more about the best alcohol detox treatment centers in Arizona, contact the NTR/NAD Detox of Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-8453 or chat online with our treatment advisors to get complete information about the finest evidence-based alcohol detoxification treatment in Arizona.