Brain Damage From Excessive Alcohol Intake

August 20, 2012 0 Comments

Alcoholic beverages have short term and long term effects on the body especially on the brain. Brain cells are called neurons and the brain functions through the interconnection of neurons by the neurotransmitters. Based on research, alcohol consumption changes the brain processes. These processes can be simply defined as the inhibitory and the excitatory processes of the neurons in the brain. Acute moderate alcohol consumption has proven to increase the inhibitory neurotransmissions and reduce the excitatory neurotransmission. People who engage in one time heavy drinking experience the inhibitory effects of the brain like lethargy, drowsiness, and relaxation. Constant heavy drinking can further increase the inhibitory neurotransmission. When this happens, there’s greater harm in the brain that may be more threatening.

Impaired memory and blackouts

A blackout is an interval of time where a drunk person can not remember key events or an entire experience after drinking large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time on an empty stomach. Individuals who engage in excessive drinking are usually teenagers or university students and they are the common victims of experiencing a blackout. Alcohol has been proven to damage a person’s memory even after only a few drinks and the more amount of alcohol is consumed, the greater damage it creates on the person’s memory. Based on studies in alcohol treatment centers, there are many women who experienced blackouts compared to men. This may be due to the genetic make-up of men and women because men physically have higher tolerance for alcohol than women.

Brain Damage

Brain damage from chronic alcohol consumption may be indirectly related to poor diet. In time, brain injury becomes a secondary result. An example of this is thiamine deficiency caused by poor overall nutrition. Thiamine is an important nutrient used in many body tissues including the brain. When alcoholics consume alcohol especially on an empty stomach, there aren’t enough sufficient nutrients to supply the entire body. The most serious disorder that resulted from thiamine deficiency is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This is a mental disorder characterized by confusion, nerve paralysis of the eyes and difficult muscle coordination. Individuals who suffer from this particular condition may have trouble finding a way out of a room because of confusion and inability to walk. Some alcohol treatment centers require inpatient treatment as well as medical treatment for those who experience alcohol addiction and mental disorders. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to severe liver damage. Liver cirrhosis is one of the known diseases associated with heavy alcohol intake. Prolonged liver impairment can result to brain damage as well. This is known as hepatic encephalopathy. This is a disease which causes changes in personality and mood, sleeping patterns, psychiatric conditions like depression and anxiety, and severe cognitive defects.

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