Alcohol is a type of depressant. It is a drug, and no matter how much you see it being advertised consistently and all over the place, it is a potentially dangerous substance still. Of course, although alcohol – or ethanol – it’s active ingredient – is a kind of depressant, it works in phases. During the first phase, it makes you feel great. That is because dopamine is released into your brain when you drink alcohol. Dopamine is a kind of “reward” substance inside of your brain that causes you to feel really good about whatever you are doing. That is a major reason why alcohol – along with other drugs – appear to be so pleasant.
Alcohol’s Long-Term Effects On The Body
As your drinking is making your brain feel high, your liver and stomach are having to work overtime in order to process the alcohol as well as prevent it from going into the bloodstream. Your body is capable of doing that if it is a small quantity, which is why you never get drunk off of drinks that have a low alcohol content. Usually, the initial rush will last for around a half-hour. That is one of the big reasons why most people don’t stop after having only one drink. The depressive effects start to kick in if you are drinking on a consistent basis. The effects slow down reaction speed and movement and block those parts of your brain that act as behavioral inhibitors. That is why individuals are prone to making certain decisions while they are drunk that they wouldn’t normally make. In the case of a drunk driving situation, someone who drinks and drives when they shouldn’t need to contact a Houston DUI lawyer.
Why Drunkenness in Extreme Cases Might Result in Memory Loss & A Blackout
Generally, blackouts occur due to the individual having an excessive amount to drink in a very short time frame. But that is something you knew already. When alcohol is consumed in large quantities, it impairs the ability of the brain to transfer memories into long-term memory from short-term memory. That is why individuals who blackout might not remember large portions of the time that they were intoxicated. One thing that is worth notice is blackouts aren’t caused exactly by the consumption of large quantities of alcohol. There are caused specifically by the sharp spike in your blood-alcohol content. So it is more likely for you to black out from consuming six drinks in a one hour span o time than it is to slowly consume 10 drinks over several hours.
Alcohol’s Long-Term Effects On The Brain
We have mainly been discussing the effects that binge drinking and being drunk have on the brain. Mainly the way that it immediately affects the body and brain. However, that doesn’t come anywhere near to telling the entire story. Using alcohol over the long-term can cause the brain long-term problems, even when you don’t get drunk or binge drink on a regular basis. Symptoms are most commonly seen in individuals who have been heavy drinkers for many years. However, long-term changes can also occur inside the brain from moderate drinking over an extended time period or one heavy drinking instance. There are many things that go into determining what the risk factors for alcohol are that affect the brain. They include:
- The amount an individual drinks
- How frequently an individual drinks
- How long the individual has been drinking
- What age the individual was when they started drinking
- General health
- Family history and genes
- Education level
Like everything else that is involved with addiction, there is never a cut-and-dry answer. There are many unexplained variables and lots of factors involved. Some people who frequently binge drink might avoid getting serious symptoms due to their alcohol consumption. While others might end up being hammered with numerous symptoms despite fairly light consumption.
What Exactly Is Happening To The Brain?
It was shown in a recent study, that there were alterations in the brain’s cortex and throughout its functional capacity in adolescents that were otherwise mentally healthy. The chemical and electrical reactions inside the brains of adults who were heavy drinks as adolescents had notable differences compared to those who didn’t drink heavily. In the study, the GABA neurotransmission system showed changes, which is known to play a major role in such mental disorders as depression and anxiety. It is still not clear what the link’s full extent is, but researchers are needing to rethink the standards used for determining when the use of alcohol is considered to be a substance abuse disorder, particularly in younger individuals. There is also a connection between long-term drinking and reduced brain cell size, and this results in entirely shrinking the brain. As may be expected, smaller brain size results in numerous problems, like basic motor skill, memory, and learning problems. Sleeping is difficult as well for people who drink routine, especially after they stop drinking. That is due to the fact that the brain adapts and start to 1produce chemicals to manage the regular injections of alcohol. When alcohol is removed, it may cause imbalances that might alter your ability to sleep, your mood, or how temperature fluctuations are experienced by your body. The concept also drives withdrawal symptoms.