Alcohol Consumption Can Cause Changes In the Blossoming Brain

Alcohol can trigger modifications in the structure and function of the growing brain, which continues to develop into an individual's mid 20s, and it may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.

In adolescence, brain growth is defined by remarkable changes to the brain's structure, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain alter everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and judgment.

Not all parts of the juvenile brain mature at the same time, which might put an adolescent at a disadvantage in certain scenarios. The limbic areas of the brain develop earlier than the frontal lobes.

The way Alcohol Disturbs the Human Brain Alcohol affects a juvenile's brain growth in numerous ways. The effects of adolescent drinking on particular brain functions are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative drug. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, initially, it depresses the portion of the human brain that manages inhibitions.

CEREBRAL CORTEX-- Alcohol slows down the 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 do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends out a signal to that part of the body. alcohol impedes the central nervous system, making the individual think, speak, and move less quickly.

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

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

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the human brain where memories are made. Once alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual may have difficulty recalling something she or he just learned, such as a person's name or a phone number. This can occur after just a couple of drinks. Drinking a great deal of alcohol quickly can trigger a blackout-- not having the ability to remember entire events, such as what exactly she or he did the night before. If alcohol injures the hippocampus, an individual might find it difficult to learn and to hold on to information.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, thoughts, and awareness. A person may have difficulty with these abilities once alcohol enters the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands might be so shaky that they can't touch or grab things normally, and they might lose their balance and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does a remarkable number of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol upsets the work of the hypothalamus. After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the impulse to urinate intensify while body temperature and heart rate decrease.

Alcohol in fact cools down the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger an individual's physical body temperature to fall below normal.

A person might have difficulty with these skills once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands may be so unsteady that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they may lose their balance and fall.

After a person alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the desire to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.

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

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