Many people think that after a few glasses of wine with dinner or after a few rounds in the bar that the perfect counter to this is a cup of coffee. It’s a bit of a traditional drink to help sober a person up. However, it might just be the worst thing that you can drink after a few alcoholic beverages.
Dr. Robert Smith, Ph. D., the associate director of Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies states that coffee might just make you think that you’re more sober. It’s all in the way that alcohol and caffeine are processed by your body.
As soon as you begin drinking your favorite brew, spirit, or cocktail, your brain begins pumping out the feel good chemical dopamine. Dopamine then activates production of a second chemical, cyclic AMP. Cyclic AMP makes your brain more active, making you feel more energized and talkative. Once you stop drinking, that’s when the sedative effects of alcohol kick in.
Other neurotransmitters that slow your brain’s processes begin to kick in, making you begin to feel tired and foggy. It also affects your reaction time, slowing it down.
Adding caffeine to the mix interrupts the sedative affects of the alcohol, while increasing the feel-good effects of the alcohol. The end result is that even though the alcohol has slowed your reaction speed down, you still feel more alert. The coffee has done nothing to diminish the alcohol in your system. You are still, for all purposes, legally drunk.
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