How alcohol can affect your brain | The State

Alcohol not only makes you drunk and damages your liver, it also affects your brain. Drinking in moderation has effects on your brain not only if you do it frequently, even it can happen when you go overboard just once. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect how it works.

There’s also periods in life when the brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol.

Short term effects

The difficulty walking, blurred vision, difficulty speaking, slower reaction times, impaired memory are detectable after just one or two drinks and they resolve quickly when you stop drinking.

Fainting and not remembering what happened

Large amounts of alcohol, especially when consumed quickly and with the empty stomach, can produce a Fainting or an interval of time during which the intoxicated person cannot remember key details of events, or even entire events.

Drinking a lot of alcohol and fast can lead to overdose, in this case, the damage experienced by a single binge can be of gravity.

The brain begins to shut down basic functions and can be fatal

An alcohol overdose occurs when there is too much alcohol in the bloodstream than areas of the brain that control basic life-support functionssuch as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control, start to fade, as explained by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Critical symptoms of an alcohol overdose

  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulty staying conscious or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Muted responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking)
  • Extremely low body temperature, bluish skin, or paleness

Long-term effects of alcohol

A person who drinks heavily over a long period of time you may have brain deficiencies that persist long after you get sober.

Learning and memory problems

Both men and women have similar learning and memory problems as a result of heavy alcohol use.

The NIAAA notes that as of 80 percent of alcoholics they have one thiamine deficiency and some of these people will develop serious brain disorders such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)

Korsakoff psychosis patients have trouble remembering old information (retrograde amnesia) and difficulty “Establish” new information (anterograde amnesia). For example, these patients can discuss an event in their lives in detail, but an hour later they may not remember having the conversation.

Hepatic encephalopathy

The hepatic cirrhosis due to excessive alcohol consumption, you can damage the brain and cause a serious and life-threatening brain disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy.

Hepatic encephalopathy can cause changes in sleep patterns, mood, and personality; psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression; severe cognitive effects, such as reduced attention span; and coordination problems like flapping or shaking of the hands (called asterixis).

In the most severe cases, the person may fall into a coma, what can be fatal.

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Harvard Health explains that when pregnant women drink alcohol, it can damage the developing brain of the fetus, causing physical problems, learning disabilities and behavior problems.

The most serious damage is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Babies are smaller and their brains may be less bulky (microencephaly) and they may have fewer brain cells (neurons), hence the learning and behavior problems. Children can have different facial features.

Another time of greater brain vulnerability occurs when people over 65 years of age drink alcohol, this can worsen the deterioration of brain function that occurs during aging.

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