Mind Matters: How Alcohol Affects Your Brain

How Alcohol Affects Your Brain

How Alcohol Affects Your BrainSure, it’s normal to drink alcohol and many people do it for different reasons—this doesn’t make it advisable, though. According to numerous studies, alcohol has profound effects on your brain whether in the short or long term, most especially with women. AnniesHouse.com shares more information below:

How Alcohol Affects Your Brain

Alcohol is capable of entering your brain very rapidly and may negatively affect living cells. Further, when a long-time alcohol abuser decides to sober up, it can take many years to reverse the damage, if they can be reversed at all. The physical and chemical changes alcohol poses on your brain will make it harder for alcoholics to stop their drinking habit, and these changes can be acute or chronic.

Acute changes happen when you have even one drink of alcohol, which affect important chemicals in your brain (Dopamine, GABA, and Glutamate). Dopamine is the pleasure center of your brain and since alcohol stimulates this, it will get used to alcohol and make you addicted to it in time. GABA calms you by reducing brain energy and alcohol sedates your nervous system, which enhances the functions of GABA but in a negative way. On the other hand, Glutamate helps in keeping you alert and energized, and alcohol reduces its effects.

Because your brain is battling for balance, it will try its best to counteract these acute brain changes. With glutamate, your brain will strive to produce more which can result in agitation, shakes, and in more extreme cases, seizures. While Dopamine overstimulation from alcohol can result in your brain slowing down dopamine production. When this happens, you’ll get used to the instant high you get from alcohol, leading you drink more and more since you will eventually develop alcohol tolerance.

When you become an alcoholic, you’ll gradually develop neurological diseases or chronic brain changes. You’ll start out with Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which adversely affects your memory and coordination. If not addressed it can turn into Korsakoff’s psychosis, which is an irreversible condition where you’ll have physical and mental coordination issues, as well as memory issues.

Can You Reverse Alcohol Damage?

Your brain is extremely resilient and is capable of forming new living cells via neurogenesis. Many effects can be reversed, while some can’t. What studies have shown, however is that continued alcohol avoidance, proper alcohol treatment for women, and a healthy lifestyle can improve your brain function.