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Zoning Out on Alcohol: You Could Be Doing It Too

Have you ever zoned out while drinking alcohol? By “zoning out”, we mean that your mind starts drifting or even temporarily shuts down. If you answered no, then the fact is you may have but did not just notice it. These are the latest findings that the University of Pittsburgh uncovered during a latest a study. According to the studies, drinking alcohol (even in moderate doses) could increase the wanderings that a person’s mind makes, while making the person less likely to notice it. This can lead to an impaired meta-consciousness since the person is not aware that his or her mind has strayed.

The group of experts who led this study was composed of Michael Sayette (psychology professor in the University of Pittsburgh), Jonathan Schooler (psychology professor in the University of California) and Erik Reichle, a researcher. For the study, the team picked out a group of men. Half of the group was given alcohol to consume while the other half was given a placebo. After a half hour, all the participants were asked to read an excerpt of War and Peace by Tolstoy from a computer screen. There was also a special key on the keyboard that they must press when they catch themselves having no idea about what they just read, or when they think about something else completely. The results showed that those who consumed alcohol had their minds wandering almost 25% of the entire time that they were reading. This is double the results of those who took placebo. What’s more disturbing is that the alcohol group was also unable to catch themselves before they zone out.

Can you concentrate?

According to Sayette, the results of the study is not really all that surprising since almost everyone knows that alcohol can affect a person’s ability to concentrate. However, the fact that the person does not notice that he is not concentrating poses an all-new problem. Basically, if you are not aware of you lack of concentration, then you won’t be able to practice self-control. If you are not aware of the condition of mind that you’re in, then you won’t be able to regulate it correctly. Such an effect could prove to be dangerous, and in some cases, even fatal. A person who is drunk driving may try his best to concentrate on the road, but won’t be able to notice when he’s not concentrating.

If you want to learn about more recent studies and findings about alcohol and substance abuse in general, Miramar could provide you with the information you need as well as drug abuse treatment for chemically dependent individuals.

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