What Alcohol Does To The Brain
What is the first thing you think of body-wise when it comes to alcohol? Chances are it is the liver and the damage done to it. Alcohol can greatly damage the brain as well. Slurring words, problems walking, memory problems and more are symptoms of alcohol affecting the brain. Depending on how much a person drinks, the effects, whether short-term or long-term can be seen.
Blacking out is thought to be something that happens to someone who either is not used to drinking so much or who drinks until he passes out. However, blackouts are actually a sign of acute intoxication, which could be fatal as it is a symptom of alcohol poisoning. Memory loss is also a symptom of brain alteration or damage in some way and this cerebral damage is often caused by excessive drinking. Blackouts, memory loss, difficulty walking, slurred speech are all performance deficits that can quickly occur in the brain.
If an alcoholic continues to drink or drinks excessively, brain deficits may become irreversible and continue even after a person stops drinking. While this can happen to both men and women, it has been found that women really are more at risk.
Someone else who is at risk for brain damage due to alcohol is an unborn child. The illness, known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, can damage the brain of the fetus by interrupting brain growth and development. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy has accounted for the leading cause of brain defects in children in the U.S.
When we think of brain injury, we think of physical accidents or being wounded in the war. Alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI) can happen, and it damages the brain to the extent of literally physically altering the brain. How does this happen? Alcohol can have a toxic effect on the central nervous system . It can change the metabolism of the brain, thus interfering with heart function and blood supply. Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which leads to brain cells wasting away and of course, getting drunk and falling down or being in an accident can cause a brain injury as well.
Even low to moderate alcohol consumption can damage the brain by shrinking it. This type of brain atrophy does not reduce the risk of a stroke as some might believe. The truth is that excessive drinking can definitely kill you; moderate drinking can affect your brain, and abstaining altogether is the only way not to take a chance with your brain function.