Boing boing….

Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about not only the effects of vasoconstriction and vasodilation on our brains and bodies, but the consequential rebound effects.

I’m typing this quickly off the top of my head, so I apologise if some of it doesn’t make any sense.

Take alcohol, for example. Although it clearly has myriad effects on us, I believe that the ones on our brain blood flow are as follows, simply put:

As we start drinking, alcohol acts as a vasodilator, the increase in blood flow temporarily increasing blood flow to our brain, causing feelings of well-being, warmth and an increase in cognitive abilities. You think you’re smarter after a couple of drinks? You are, but just for a while.

After some time, there is a consequential rebound in the tone of the blood vessels in your brain, and they constrict to reduce blood flow. At this point, your judgement becomes clouded, you can’t think straight as the areas of your brain responsible for your inhibitions, self control and awareness of social and personal responsibility begin to shut down due to insufficient blood flow.

Lack of blood flow eventually leads to a state in which consciousness is shutting down, and we feel like sleeping, or pass out (if enough has been consumed).

A secondary rebound causes the same vessels to dilate, bringing a murky consciousness and leading to disturbed sleep or insomnia. The dilation of these vessels also leads to the pounding headache characterised by a hangover.

The extent to which this pattern represents the average person’s experience depends largely on the health and elasticity of those blood vessels involved. Think of them like an ageing rubber garden hose which is stating to perish. If you increase the water pressure whilst blocking the end, the hose will swell, especially at its weakest points. Once the end becomes unblocked, the hose is unable to revert to its original shape, the end pressure drops and the characteristics of the hose have changed, perhaps for good.

Blah blah blah….





~ by funnyinthehead on November 30, 2012.

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