Indulging in wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages is common among American adults. In fact, more than 85% of adults in the U.S. report drinking alcohol at some point. Although the act is commonplace, not everyone who chooses to partake understands its affects. From slurred speech and mood swings to alcohol poisoning, there are many ways the brain is affected by consuming alcohol. To help give you a better idea, let’s review some regions of the brain that are impacted by drinking alcohol — and what can happen as a result.
First, it’s important to know that alcohol affects the body quickly. As it is absorbed through the stomach’s lining, it enters the bloodstream and spreads into the various tissues throughout the body. It works so fast that it can reach the brain in only five minutes and starts to influence your mind and body within a mere ten minutes. After twenty or so minutes, the liver begins processing the alcohol; however, it can only metabolize one ounce every hour. This is how a person becomes intoxicated, as the intake of alcohol exceeds the body’s ability to metabolize it and effectively break it down. Due to the slow rate of this process, alcohol can stay in your system for hours.
What does all this mean for the brain? As the alcohol reaches this critical organ through the bloodstream, it interferes with its communication pathways. This affects your brain chemicals, neurotransmitters and the way certain regions work, making it more difficult to carry out tasks such as controlling balance and forming memories. For instance, as the prefrontal cortex is affected by alcohol, a person’s judgment and problem-solving skills become impaired. That’s because this frontal lobe region is responsible for judgment and reasoning.
As drinking continues and the effects of alcohol worsen, the temporal and occipital lobes also become affected. The temporal lobes are responsible for managing emotions and processing information from the senses. When influenced by alcohol, it can lead to difficulty understanding language, as well as controlling mood and emotional reactions. The occipital lobes are needed for visual perception and, therefore, may lead to blurred vision when under the influence.
If someone continues drinking after experiencing such significant impairments as these, it can result in an alcohol overdose. This occurs when the intake of alcohol is so excessive that it begins to shut down areas of the brain responsible for operating basic life-support functions. This may involve symptoms such as difficulty remaining conscious, seizures, trouble breathing and a slowed heart rate. Alcohol overdoses are very serious and may lead to permanent brain damage and even death.
Interested in learning more about how alcohol impacts the brain? Check out the accompanying resource from Fountain Hills Recovery for more information.
Infographic Provided By mental health facility arizona Company, Fountain Hills Recovery