According to a new study, stress hormones plus tobacco may prompt a person to drink alcohol to excess. Studies have already shown a link between nicotine and drinking. Alcoholism is ten times more prevalent in smokers, and people who start smoking at an early age are at a higher risk for later alcohol abuse. This new study sheds some light on why that may be the case.
The study found that nicotine upsets the usual flow of dopamine when a person drinks. When a person drinks, a flood of dopamine usually improves the mood and dampens the effects of stress. When a stressed-out person decides to smoke, it takes more alcohol to get to the usual buzz, which prompts people to drink more than they should.
Researchers tested this on young rats, finding that rats who had been dosed on nicotine would then drink more alcohol. However, when the scientists administered a drug that dampened the effects of stress, the nicotine-dosed rats ended up drinking no more than the others.
Source: The LA Times – <a href=