Adverse Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

When the regular use of alcohol becomes… an abuse, health problems are no further than one step away. Consuming alcohol for long periods of time can alter irremediably. One of the first organs that the long term abuse of alcoholic beverages damages is the brain. Why does alcohol affect the brain? Because it alters the synapses by inhibiting the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and by increasing in the same time the gamma-Aminobutyric acid (as known as GABA) levels.

Most alcoholics have difficulties in walking and controlling their own movements, have a blurred vision, can not speak correct, and unfortunately (for this is the number one cause of the road kills), have slow reflexes. As well, most of the risk to develop firstly mild-to-severe forms of brain damage, not because of alcohol per se, but because of facts associated with alcoholism. For example, 65% of the alcoholics have a poor nutrition and develop thiamine deficiency, that in turns leads to the beriberi disease (that manifests through poor memory, encephalopathies, muscle atrophy and even through the appearance of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome).

Adverse Effects of Alcohol on the BrainAnother adverse effect of the alcohol is the appearance of impairments in memory or even blackouts. They appear mostly because the drinkers do not eat before drinking large quantities of alcoholic beverages in a short period of time. This occurs mostly in the social drinkers and most often in women.

Several studies have shown that alcohol abuse not only lowers the intelligence quotient, but also increases the risk of developing neuropsychiatric problems such as dementia, impair cortex development (especially at the teens and at the new born babies whom mother’s had drank during pregnancy), brain shrinkage (due to the homocysteine formation – a non protein aminoacid derived from the methionine) and so on.

Last, but not least, alcohol abuse leads to developing problems in learning and memorizing new things on the long term. This is why people should be prevented at all costs from drinking at a young age and while they’re in school. Besides, it’s quite common for the drinkers to have fights with their friends and family who are trying to stop them; as a consequence, they isolate themselves from the society and retreat in solitary places where they can enjoy alcoholic beverages without being bothered. Unfortunately, choosing to become isolated not only leads to chronic depression, but lowers down the health overall (due to the often-met poor hygiene and eating habits).

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