Damaging effects of alcohol on the brain

Effects of alcohol on the brain
Contributed by Rachana Arya

A glass of wine after meals and beer during celebrations has become a normal part of our daily lives. However, studies suggest that alcohol can have a detrimental impact on your body and the brain. Slurred speech, diminished memory, and long-term effects such as cellular damage are some of the damaging impacts associated with alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption modifies the levels of neurotransmitters present in your brain.

These neurotransmitters transmit signals throughout your body and play a major role in monitoring behavior, emotions, and physical activities.  Not only the brain but Alcohol impacts our body also. Alcohol In this article, we will further discuss in detail the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain


Alcohol slows down the neurotransmitter present in your body which causes sluggish movement, slurred speech, and slower reaction time. It lowers reticence and clouds the judgment that might lead you to engage in precarious behaviors such as unprotected intercourse or drunk driving. Mood swings and other signs can aggravate in the case of mental health disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Drinking also affects the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex. You might feel dizzy while walking with blurred vision and lack of attention to things going around you when these regions of the brain are slowed down. Alcohol even contributes to blackouts and short-term memory lapses.

In extreme cases, excessive drinking can cause loss of consciousness which is an indication of cell death. Heavy drinking can damage your learning and memory skills. All these effects are the result of an increase in blood alcohol content over a short period of time. Binge drinking can embarrass and injure you. You might make poor decisions that have lasting consequences. According to a study in the Archives of Neurology, heavy drinking over a long period of time shrinks brain volume. The study found that people who had more than fourteen drinks per week over a twenty-year timeframe had smaller brains than those of teetotalers.

Heavy drinking might speed up your memory loss at an early age as per a study. With chronic drinking, the wiring element of your brain’s reward system can get worn out and you might lose some of its normal functioning. You might seek alcohol to cope with negative feelings. This leads to increased levels of consumption which can further damage the body and the entire brain. Alcohol kills cells and damages cellular networks in the brain. Wet brain is technically known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which is a category of dementia caused by a deficiency of thiamine or vitamin B1 in your brain. Alcohol obstructs the absorption of thiamine in your brain. Brain damage and symptoms such as brain fog can also be caused by cirrhosis of the liver which is another common complication of long-term and heavy drinking.

The Bottom line

Alcohol-associated damage to both the brain as well as the body can be fatal. In a recent Lancet study, it was found that people who regularly had ten or more drinks per week had a shorter life expectancy as compared to those who had less than five drinks per week. The researchers also observed that alcohol consumption was connected with different categories of cardiovascular problems such as a stroke, heart attack, or blockages of the arteries.


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