New Study Examines Effects of the Sight and Smell of Alcohol

psychopharmajournalOne of the most difficult things for a recovering alcoholic is to remain sober when people around them are drinking. Sometimes this uncomfortable situation can be avoided by explaining to close friends and family members that it would be appreciated if they did not consume alcohol around the addict, or avoiding parties or gathering where alcohol is sure to be present. However, because social drinking is so prevalent in society, being in the presence of alcohol is occasionally unavoidable.

A new study is showing that simply smelling alcohol can make someone feel tipsy, which may help to explain why being around alcohol is so threatening to someone’s sobriety.

Researchers, who published their study in the journal Psychopharmacology, provided face masks that had been treated with an alcohol solution or a citrus solution. Participants were then asked to perform simple tasks, like clicking a button every time they saw a certain letter or image appear on screen. They found that those with the alcohol solution on their masks made more errors than those with the citrus solution.

Researchers were able to determine that these people were showing poor impulse control, which is a common side effect of alcohol consumption. While the researchers understand that people are not going to get drunk off of smelling alcohol, they did caution that it can lower inhibitions. This means that it could cause some people to drink more, or others to start drinking when they had previously decided not to consume any alcohol.

The information gathered from this study shows just how difficult it can be for some people to withstand the temptations of alcohol, and it supports the idea that sometimes the best thing for recovering alcoholics is to just stay away from people that are drinking altogether. Overall it is going to be better for recovering alcoholics to make sober friends and surround themselves with people who respect their choice not to drink and who do not spend a lot of time drinking either. This study seems to prove that those sorts of safeguards are warranted, as there are sensory triggers that should be avoided.

About Blake Nichols

Blake Nichols is the Director of Operations at Desert Cove Recovery. Blake battled his own addiction to drugs and alcohol and was given the gift of recovery at the age of 23. Since 2008, Blake has dedicated his life and career to the field of addiction. He has experience in all aspects of addiction treatment including direct care, admissions, marketing, and administration.
Blake feels that the greatest reward of working in the recovery field is being part of the transformation that a person goes through from the time they arrive and begin treatment, through the hard work and the Miracle of recovery, and ultimately the change into a confident and capable person ready to carry the message of recovery.
"My career has focused on serving others. I have accepted ownership of my responsibilities as that is the key to working at the highest level of professionalism. I have worked to be positive and offer solution-based suggestions in my work and personal life."