How Alcohol Affects the Brain

Alcohol and the Brain

Alcohol and the Brain

When you think of dangerous drugs you don’t think of alcohol do you? You probably will think of crack or heroin or maybe even prescription painkillers but because of the positive social stigma you don’t think of alcohol.

We are here to set the record straight. Alcohol is dangerous, not only that, but alcohol is probably the most dangerous. Alcohol affects the brain and every part of the body on a cellular level. Let us tell you how alcohol affects the brain and maybe you will change your mind about alcohol’s light hearted use.

Alcohol affects the brain in so many ways because that is the main source of the body’s functions. Imagine putting your brain in a jar filled with alcohol and shaking it up, it’s not a pretty picture. Well that’s what slowly happens to a certain extent when you drink. Alcohol seeps into the brain affecting the different parts of it as you drink more.

Your cerebral cortex-How alcohol affects the brain

  • Alcohol affects the brain’s cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex processes information from your senses, thoughts, and initiates the majority of voluntary muscle movements and has some control over lower-order brain centers. Alcohol affects the brain at the cerebral cortex by impairing thought processes and leading to poor judgment. It can cause the depression of inhibition which leads to you becoming more talkative and confident. So when that happens alcohol has seeped to the cerebral cortex. It also blunts the senses and increases the pain threshold. As you drink more these effects become more apparent.

This is the first part of the brain affected by alcohol.

  • Next is the cerebellum that goes. The cerebellum coordinates muscle movement. The cerebral cortex initiates movement by sending messages through the medulla and spinal cord to the muscles. As these signals pass through the medulla, they are influenced by nerve impulses from the cerebellum The cerebellum nerve impulses control fine movements which include those for balance and basic things like walking. Which is why when you’re drunk, the cop asks you to walk the line. You’re getting drunker now and this how alcohol affects the brain.
  • Next is the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. These glands control many automatic functions of the body such as hormonal release. Alcohol affects this part of the brain by depressing nerve centers in the hypothalamus that control sexual arousal. Making you more aroused but less able to perform. Alcohol affects the brain by also inhibiting the pituitary secretion which affects urine excretion. Which explains why you have to pee so much when you drink; your kidneys can’t absorb the water.
  • And last but most definitely not least. Alcohol affects the brain in the medulla. Slowly but surely you have drank enough to get alcohol poisoning at this point and your brain is completely seeped in alcohol. The medulla influences or controls body functions that occur automatically; important things such as your heart rate, temperature, and breathing. When alcohol reaches the medulla a person will start to feel sleepy. Increased drinking of alcohol can lead to becoming unconscious and if in excess can be fatal because it shuts down the medulla entirely.

These are the ways that alcohol affects the brain. This merely the brain though. Alcohol affects the brain but it also affects the body. Alcohol penetrates every cell in a human being causing all organs and body functions to be affected and heavy long term use can do some serious damage. Alcohol in no way shape or form does anything positive for the body on a physical or mental level even though getting drunk may sometimes feel good or be fun.

How Our Helpline Works

If you're seeking addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, the AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline offers a convenient and private solution to assist you. Our caring treatment advisors are ready to take your call anytime, day or night. Calls are answered 24/7 to discuss treatment and recovery options.

Your call is routed to a general helpline call center where caring admissions coordinators can help you decide what treatment option is right for yourself or for your loved one. Our helpline is NOT affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous/AA nor does AA sponsor the treatment options that are recommended when you call.

Close