…a drinking problem

Americans tend to drink in more dysfunctional ways than people in other societies… again and again, an era of overindulgence begets an era of renunciation: Binge, abstain. Binge, abstain… as Michael Sayette, a leading alcohol researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, recently told me, if you packaged alcohol as an anti-anxiety serum and submitted it to the FDA, it would never be approved…

Natural selection has endowed humans with the ability to drink most other mammals under the table. Many species have enzymes that break alcohol down and allow the body to excrete it, avoiding death by poisoning. But about 10 million years ago, a genetic mutation left our ancestors with a souped-up enzyme that increased alcohol metabolism 40-fold… since the turn of the millennium, alcohol consumption has risen steadily, in a reversal of its long decline throughout the 1980s and ’90s… not long ago, Millennials were touted as the driest generation… and yet here they are day-drinking… and dying of cirrhosis at record rates… alcohol doesn’t merely unleash a flood of endorphins that promote bonding; by reducing our inhibitions, it nudges us to do other things that trigger endorphins and bonding. Over time, groups that drank together would have cohered and flourished, dominating smaller groups… around the turn of the millennium, Americans said To hell with it and poured a second drink, and in almost every year since, we’ve drunk a bit more wine and a bit more liquor than the year before. But why? One answer is that we did what the alcohol industry was spending billions of dollars persuading us to do…

Original Article (The Atlantic):
America has a drinking problem
Artwork Fair Use: Nik Frey (niksan)