So it seems, as in many things, Beyonce was right about what love does to us. Her song Drunk in Love pretty much sums up new research from scientists at The University of Birmingham in the UK that says that being in love has a very similar quality to being rolling drunk.
The study found that the feel-good love hormone oxytocin had the same effect on the brain as the more lovely feelings that one too many vinos brings – such as feeling relaxed, happy and really on your A game. However the researchers also found that oxytocin can provoke the less lovely feelings that drunkenness, namely aggression, jealousy and arrogance.
The researchers administered the oxytocin in a spray for the study, but we shouldn’t expect people to start carrying it in their purse and spraying themselves with the drug instead of gulping a glass of wine before a first date and so on.
Even still, Dr Ian Mitchell, from the School of Psychology at Birmingham University, told The Telegraph that they were struck by the similarities between oxytocin and alcohol.
“We pooled existing research into the effects of both oxytocin and alcohol and were struck by the incredible similarities between the two compounds.
“They appear to target different receptors within the brain, but cause common actions.
“These neural circuits control how we perceive stress or anxiety, especially in social situations such as interviews, or perhaps even plucking up the courage to ask somebody on a date. Taking compounds such as oxytocin and alcohol can make these situations seem less daunting.”
As with all vices and good things in life, the advice from scientific types is to approach with moderation.
The findings were published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews journal.