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Alcohol on the Brain

Alcohol is a drug, and over time, it can cause drastic changes in the brain. The length of time a person drinks, and the amount consumed are variables that may have lasting effects. As addiction takes over, it changes the brain in three distinct ways: it begins to crave alcohol, it makes you continue drinking regardless of negative consequences, and it causes you to lose any control you ever had over your drinking. Alcoholism is a disease, and in essence, it makes your brain make you drink.

Most adults have experienced the short term effects of alcohol. Symptoms such as slurred speech, poor judgment, and slowed reaction time are prevalent. Some forms of memory impairment also occur, as alcohol impairs the three forms of memory differently: sensory, short-term, and long-term. Blackouts are a type of short-term memory loss, called transient amnesia. This experience can be quite frightening because the individual has no recollection of what happened in fragments of time. For instance, you may remember last night from 6 pm to around 9 pm, but the time between 9 pm and 11 pm is missing from your memory. The reason for this, is because the hippocampus was altered to the extent of not being able to form memories.

Over time, the brain may develop Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS), also known as wet brain. Not only is a person unable to form short-term memories, but she also loses previously-formed memories. Other symptoms can affect a person’s ability to walk, concentrate, and can cause seizures, confusion, and visual disturbances. Though there are varying degrees of wet brain, the quality of life for alcoholics suffering WKS is greatly diminished. Quitting drinking now, can sometimes reverse some of the symptoms of WKS. Disease prevention is everything, and the sooner a person can get help with their alcoholism, the better.

Alcohol also affects the three categories of neurotransmitters in the brain: GABA, dopamine, and endorphins. These neurotransmitters are crucial for our mental and physiological functioning. GABA reduces excitability in the brain, dopamine affects how we perceive pleasure, and endorphins counteract pain, and can also create euphoria. When alcohol is abused, severe and lasting damage can result. None of alcohol’s effects on the brain are positive. Not one.

 

 

 

 

If you need help with addiction, call the Serenity Recovery Center. You don’t have to let alcoholism take you past the point of no return. If you quit now, any damage from drinking may be reversed. Give us a call, we are available 24/7, toll-free at (844-339-6964). Give sobriety a try. You can recover. Call today.