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What are the Effects of Alcohol on the Brain?

The American society views alcohol as a socially acceptable substance.  Having a drink at an event or family gathering is common and doesn’t seem to be a problem.  Alcohol can be very hazardous with overconsumption. An individual’s body style, age, gender, and living habits will gage the toxicity level.  Common effects of excessive drinking are a loss of balance, slurred speech, uncontrolled actions, and behaviors. The list also explains the effects on the brain.

After a few drinks, memory lapse begins to occur.  The degree of impairment will continue to worsen. A block out, or long-term memory loss, will happen when large amounts of alcohol are consumed, in a short amount of time.  The ability to remember details, events, and actions can last for a short time or hours. Once the person is sober, only some memories could return. When an alcoholic drinks consistently, over a long span of time, the risk for dementia heightens.  

The neurotransmitters in the brain are the messaging system which sends signals to control thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.  The frontal lobe is the area of the brain that is responsible for decision-making, short-term memory, and emotional control. Alcohol can affect these areas and neurotransmitters can misfire.  The result of alteration can slow thoughts or have lasting effects. Mood swings and amplified feelings are another results of the frontal lobe being affected. Understanding and misinterpreting can excited feeling or elevate anger.  An event of embarrassment or harm can come to the consumer or people involved.

The brain connects to the central nervous system.  Alcohol is a depressant to the central nervous system.  The nerve cells slow down when blood alcohol levels rise.  Alcohol is viewed as a stimulant due to the feelings drinking gives.  Drinkers are more boisterous and active when alcohol releases dopamine into the brain.  The combination of dopamine and slow-moving nerve cells result in stumbling, slurred speech, and slower reaction time.

A lifestyle of drinking heavily will raise the risk of damage to the body.  Memory loss can turn into permanent dementia. Tremors and nerve damage can have lasting effects.  Anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders can persist due to the neurotransmitters in the brain continuing to misfire.  Other health issues caused by alcohol may elevate the symptoms. The risk for infection and disease also rise. Treatment can help decrease the severity of symptoms.  Long-term effects and damage are not always able to be treated, though.

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