Alcohol and the brain
The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, shows that chronic exposure to alcohol seems to move behaviour control to the dorsal striatum — the brain region associated with habit formation — and away from the prefrontal cortex — the brain region associated with complex decision-making.
“These findings give important insight into how excessive drinking affects learning and behavioural control at the neural level,” Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., acting director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said in a statement. “The shift to increased striatal control over behaviour may be a critical step in the progression of alcoholism.”
When an alcoholic says, “I can’t stop,” what it really means is that the part of the brain involved in rational thought that used to control decisions has become so used to being in a fog that the brain has moved where it makes decisions away from it and to the area of the brain that does stuff over and over again and rational thought no longer applies.