A Better Understanding Of The Psychological Effects Alcohol Has On The Brain

on Wednesday, 23 July 2014. Posted in Breaking News

A Better Understanding Of The Psychological Effects Alcohol Has On The Brain

The consumption of alcohol has more effects on the body that most people realize.

There are effects on the blood, the nervous system, the brain, the digestive system and pretty much all teh organs, just to name a few.

The most profound effects are manifested in the brain and with all the functions that it is responsible for.

Alcohol enters the bloodstream almost immediately after consumption and is actually not digested completely, hence the immediate effects that people feel after drinking.

These effects are the same throughout most substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and so on, wherein they take immediate action after being consumed.

The Effect on the Brain

Once in the brain, alcohol quickly starts to do its work. Judgement and coordination are impaired, as well as personality and emotions. People have their "drunk selves" which is someone when drunk starts to cry more, or becomes more aggressive, more loving and emotional, or more placid and nervous.

Certain personality traits are amplified when someone is drunk, leading to a shift in who they are. With someone who is an alcoholic, these effects are more amplified than normal, leading the person to completely change when they are drunk.

Reactions To Alcohol

A variety of factors affect the way someone reacts to alcohol. First, their age has a lot to do with it, what with bodily development and certain levels or metabolism. The body mass index, or BMI, also plays a role in the way someone reacts to the presence of alcohol, taking into account the level of body fat that is present to absorb alcohol.

Also, how much someone has drank in their lives altogether plays a role in the level of tolerance that they have. The psychological effects of alcohol on the brain are most profound, taking place pretty much right as drinking starts. Blackouts are not too common among the general populace, but they do happen.

Blackout Drinking

What happens in a blackout, when someone loses their memory for extended amounts of time while drinking, is the brain loses its ability to imprint new memory due to the alcohol interfering with the brain's inner workings. This usually happens when a large amount of alcohol is consumed quickly and usually on an empty stomach.

Studies have shown that women are usually more susceptible to blackouts than men are; this is due to the differences in the way that the genders metabolize alcohol in their digestive systems. As alcohol affects the brain so drastically, especially when it comes to someone who has been drinking heavily over a long amount of time, the changes that occur start to become permanent.

Thiamine Deficiency

One such condition that can occur over time is a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine deficiency is a common occurrence in people with alcoholism and results from poor overall nutrition. Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is an essential nutrient required by all tissues, including the brain.

Thiamine is found in a lot of different types of foods, so having a deficiency is uncommon. However, over an extended period of time, an intense amount of drinking can produce a difficiency in thiamine.

WKS

If this problem persists, something called Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, or WKS, will develop. People with WKS start to experience mental confusion and disorientation on a consistent basis, as well as an alarming problem where the muscles that control the eyes start to experience paralysis.

As WKS progresses, people with it will start to experience the inability to imprint new memories. They can have full-on conversations about something that happened in their childhood, but not be able to remember the conversation an hour later. They also have problems walking and with general coordination.

These are but a few of the kinds of things that can happen with the brain as alcohol becomes more and more present. Take care when drinking and try not to binge or drink heavily on an empty stomach. Keep it light and infrequent; someone who drinks daily will start to develop serious problems. If you find that you cannot control your drinking, especially once you start, then please seek help.

photo credit: illuminaut via photopin cc

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