Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

Alcohol consumption is old as civilization itself. Alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, a form of alcohol produced by fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar. It is one of the most consumed recreational drugs globally, with a large percentage of adults consuming it.

Alcohol impacts your body from the first sip. The effect may, however, vary depending on the quantity and quality of alcohol consumed. We can summarize that occasional consumption of wine with dinner may not affect you as it would on alcoholic.

Research has shown that when a person consumes alcohol above or beyond moderate levels, it can have damaging effects on the body and the brain especially. The effects may be short-term, long-term, or even permanent. For more information about alcohol and how it can impact you, call or visit AFC Urgent Care West Hartford. Our physicians can provide resources to help you get the information you need. 

How Alcohol Impacts the Brain

Firstly, drinking alcohol alters the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. These are chemical substances that play a vital role in the nervous system. They are commonly called chemical messengers because they help transmit messages between neurons or neurons to muscles. The result of this development is the symptom of intoxication.

After this, if the user continues to consume alcohol for an extended period, the resultant effect is that the brain will adapt to the blocked signal and react more to the neurotransmitter. Even after the alcohol leaves the system, the brain will continue to be active, thereby causing withdrawal symptoms. Too much exposure to a neurotransmitter can cause the neuron to burn out eventually.

Short Term Effects

A common short-term effect of alcohol on the brain is intoxication. Intoxication is a short-term effect on the central nervous system. The symptom can vary depending on the quantity of alcohol that was consumed. The sign of intoxication may be present after just the first two drinks. Symptoms of alcohol intoxication include mild cognitive and physical impairment.

Another common short-term effect of alcohol consumption on the brain is migraine. Alcohol contains a chemical called histamine that spurs your immune system to make more. The result is that it boosts inflammation throughout the body, thereby causing a headache.

Other short-term effects of alcohol on the brain include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting 
  • Drowsiness
  • Distorted vision 

Long Term Effects

Binge drinking and continued alcohol abuse are associated with many health-related issues. They affect the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex (responsible for regulating balance and taking in and processing new information, respectively). 

Other long-term effects on the brain include:

  • Brain shrinkage
  • Poor circulation to the brain
  • Dementia
  • Hallucination and others

Finally, while consuming alcohol moderately may not harm your health, drinking excessive alcohol is harmful to your health and body, especially your brain. It is therefore emphasized that alcohol is consumed in moderation and consideration to your total health.


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