Alcohol Consumption Can Create Modifications In The Function Of The Growing Brain

Alcohol consumption can cause changes in the architecture and operation of the growing brain, which continues to grow into an individual's mid 20s, and it may have consequences reaching far beyond teenage years.

In adolescence, brain growth is defined by dramatic changes to the brain's architecture, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain disturb everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.

Not all parts of the adolescent brain mature at the same time, which may put a juvenile at a disadvantage in particular circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain develop earlier than the frontal lobes.

The way Alcohol Alters the Human Brain Alcohol alters a juvenile's brain growth in several ways. The results of minor alcohol consumption on particular brain activities are detailed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, before anything else, it depresses the part of the human brain that governs inhibitions.

CORTEX-- Alcohol reduces the cerebral cortex as it works with details from an individual's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When a person thinks of something he wants his body to undertake, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spine-- sends out a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol hampers the central nervous system, making the person think, converse, and move less quickly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are very important for planning, creating ideas, making decisions, and employing self-discipline.

An individual might find it difficult to control his or her emotions and urges once alcohol impacts the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual may act without thinking or may even become violent. Drinking alcohol over an extended period of time can harm the frontal lobes forever.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the part of the brain in which memories are made. Once alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual might have trouble remembering something she or he just learned, such as a name or a phone number. This can happen after just one or two drinks. Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not being able to remember entire occurrences, such as what she or he did last night. An individual may find it tough to learn and to hold on to knowledge if alcohol damages the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is important for coordination, thoughts, and attention. When alcohol enters the cerebellum, an individual might have trouble with these skills. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands may be so shaky that they cannot touch or grab things normally, and they might lose their equilibrium and fall.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does an incredible variety of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol upsets the work of the hypothalamus. After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the impulse to urinate increase while body temperature level and heart rate decline.

Alcohol in fact chills the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause a person's physical body temperature to drop below normal.

An individual might have difficulty with these abilities when alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands may be so shaky that they cannot touch or get hold of things properly, and they may lose their equilibrium and tumble.

After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the desire to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.

Alcohol actually cools down the physical body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can trigger a person's physical body temperature to fall below normal.

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