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Understanding the effects of alcohol on your brain

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Understanding the effects of alcohol on your brain

Neuro Sciences | by Dr. Dibendu Kr. Ray | Published on 11/07/2022


Do you indulge in a glass of wine most often? Then you’re not alone. As per research, more than 85% of adults report drinking alcohol at some point in their lives. However, the effect of heavy drinking on the brain is well known to all of us. The two don’t have a healthy relationship at all. Alcohol-related brain damage can cause dementia(memory loss) and a host of other maladies. Here we’ve discussed the harmful effects of alcohol on your brain that you need to know about in order to avoid binge drinking. One of our best neurologist doctors in Kolkata has helped us with the same.

Does alcohol kill brain cells?

It is a myth that drinking causes brain cell death. Alcohol, on the other hand, harms the brain in different ways, such as by destroying the nerve endings of neurons. This can make sending essential nerve messages challenging for certain neurons. Alcohol may also harm the brain by raising the likelihood of strokes, head trauma, and car accidents.

Tell me the effects of alcohol on the brain:

As per our expert neurologist doctor in Kolkata, alcohol affects your entire body, but it has the greatest impact on your brain. Alcohol interferes with the communication network in the brain. It can also have an impact on how your brain processes information.

Alcohol intoxication can progress in the following ways:

  • Subliminal intoxication: This is the first stage of intoxication, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 - 0.05. Your reaction time and decision-making skills may be affected at this stage. Most men and women reach this stage after one drink, depending on their weight.
  • Euphoria: In the initial stages of drinking, your brain produces more dopamine. This chemical is related to pleasure. You may feel peaceful and confident. Your logic and memory, however, may be slightly hindered.
  • Excitement: If your BAC is between 0.09 and 0.25, you are now legally intoxicated. This level of intoxication affects your brain's occipital lobe, temporal lobe, and frontal lobe. Too much alcohol can create adverse effects and affect the functions of each lobe such as blurred vision, slurred speech and hearing, and loss of control.
    The parietal lobe, which processes sensory data, is also impacted. You may lose fine motor abilities and have a reduced reaction time. Mood swings, reduced judgment, and even nausea or vomiting are common during this time.
  • Confusion: A BAC of 0.18 to 0.30 frequently appears as dizziness. Your cerebellum, which aids with coordination, has been affected. As a result, you may require assistance while walking or standing. Blackouts, confusion, or temporary loss of awareness or short-term memory are also possible. This happens when the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for creating new memories, is not functioning properly. You may also have a higher pain threshold, which may put you at greater risk of harm.
  • Stupor: If your BAC exceeds 0.25, you may exhibit indicators of alcohol poisoning. All mental, bodily, and sensory processes are significantly compromised at this time. There is a substantial chance of passing out, asphyxia(unable to breathe), and injury.
  • Coma: A BAC of 0.35 puts you at risk of going into a coma. This is associated with diminished reflexes and motor responses, as well as breathing and circulation problems. A person at this stage can be in danger of dying.

Long-term effects of alcohol consumption on the brain:

Chronic alcohol consumption can permanently harm several organs in the body, including the brain. The following are some of the health hazards and long-term effects of alcohol on the brain:

  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms: Alcohol addiction can result in severe withdrawal symptoms like seizures and hallucinations, which can harm the brain cells or neurons.
  • Impaired brain structure: Heavy alcohol consumption can cause brain shrinkage and a decrease in gray and white matter quantities.
  • Impaired cognition: Excessive alcohol use has been proven in studies to impair cognitive processes such as speech, memory, concentration, and learning. The parts of the brain concerned with impulse control and problem-solving are most vulnerable to injury. This increases the risk of developing alcohol-related dementia.

    Always remember that it is never too late to consider reducing your alcohol consumption. If we start early enough, we can even cure the physical and neural(brain) damage caused by drinking. If you have any queries related to the same, consult our top neurologist doctor in Kolkata.