How Does Alcohol Affect The Brain
“Who says that drinking a beer makes you fat? It makes you lean, on tables, chairs and poles.” This Gerard Way quote says it all about an alcoholic’s state within the framework of humour. Does your fun filled night land you near the toilet seat leaving you with heavy head and an unbearable headache? These are but some of the after affects of consuming excessive alcohol. Alcohol makes people do strange things apart from making them clumsy and restless. It also makes the reflexes slow. All these affects of alcohol on a person raise serious questions on the possible danger of alcohol consumption on the brain cells of a person. Apart from the immense harm it can cause to the human body, consumption of alcohol by a member of the family can also have undesired consequences on other members of the family as well. This article, however, will dwell on the possible effects of alcohol on the brain. Read on to learn more.
Effects Of Alcohol On Brain
The affects of alcohol on the brain can be clearly seen in a person who is drunk. Alcohol consumption leads to the contraction of brain tissues causing a depression in the central nervous system.
Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to brain cell damage. Excessive drinking over a period of time can cause serious problems like affecting cognition and memory, as brain cells are not regenerative.
Alcohol also affects the communication between nerve cells once it reaches the brain. Too much of alcohol suppresses the excitatory nerve pathway and increases the activity of restrictive nerve pathway. It is for this reason that a drunken person cannot speak or walk properly. It leads to sluggishness in a person.
Immediate Effects of Alcohol on Brain
Cerebral Cortex And Alcohol
The central cortex is that part of the brain that is responsible for processing information from your senses, processing thoughts, initiating the majority of voluntary muscles and exercising control over the lower-order brain centre. Alcohol consumption can affect the thought processes guided by the cerebral cortex that can lead to poor judgement and understanding in a person. Alcohol can also react in a way to lower inhibition, making a person more talkative and over-confident.
The Limbic System And Alcohol
The limbic system is that area in the brain, which consists of the ‘genus hippocampus’ and the ‘septate area’. The limbic system is the one that controls the emotions and the memory of a person. Excessive and continuous alcohol consumption might react with the system in a way that the person might suffer memory loss and may have exaggerated states of emotion.
The Cerebellum And Alcohol
The ‘cerebellum’ is that part of the brain that helps one in coordinating muscle movements. The muscle movements are initiated by the signal from the cerebral cortex that passes by the medulla and spinal cord to the muscles. When the nerve signals pass through the medulla, they get influenced by the nerve impulses from the cerebellum, which leads to the execution of fine movements including the one required for balance. Alcohol impinges on this contribution of the cerebellum and thus affects muscle movements.
Hypothalamus And Alcohol
The Hypothalamus plays a variety of roles and is responsible for some important functions of the brain. One of the main functions of the hypothalamus is that it releases hormones through the pituitary gland. Alcohol can interfere with the function of hypothalamus and can increase the sexual desire in a person. Alcohol on one hand increases the sexual desire, but at the same time decreases sexual performance. This imbalance can lead to cases of erectile dysfunction.
Pituitary Gland And Alcohol
Alcohol consumption can also interfere with the functions of the kidneys by stopping the secretion of anti-diuretic hormones from the pituitary gland. ADH (Antidiuretic hormone) is something that helps kidney in the absorption of required amount of water from the body. Therefore, alcohol consumption affects the water consumption by the kidneys by means of affecting the flow of ADH. Alcohol can also affect the normal digestive functions of the body.
Medulla And Alcohol
The medulla is an important part of the brain that performs certain crucial functions like controlling the involuntary functions of the body such as the heart beat, body temperature and breathing. Alcohol consumption can also affect and interfere with the smooth functioning of the medulla, making a person feel sleepy. Excessive consumption can also make a person fall unconscious.