Alcohol can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to grow into an individual's mid 20s, and it may have consequences reaching far beyond teenage years.
In adolescence, brain development is identified by dramatic changes to the brain's structure, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain disturb everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.
Not all portions of the adolescent brain mature simultaneously, which may put a juvenile at a disadvantage in particular circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas manage emotions and are connected with a juvenile's lowered level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-control, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation amongst parts of the brain can lead to careless choices or actions and a neglect for consequences.
The way Alcohol Disturbs the Brain Alcohol disturbs a juvenile's brain development in many ways. The effects of minor drinking on specialized brain activities are detailed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, before anything else, it suppresses the part of the human brain that manages inhibitions.
CORTEX-- Alcohol reduces the cerebral cortex as it works with details from an individual's senses.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks about something he desires his body to do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends out a signal to that part of the physical body. Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, making the person think, converse, and move more slowly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are necessary for organizing, creating concepts, decision making, and employing self-control.
Once alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the human brain, a person may find it difficult to control his/her feelings and urges. The individual might act without thinking or may even get violent. Consuming alcohol over a long period of time can harm the frontal lobes forever.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain where memories are created. When alcohol gets to the hippocampus, a person might have trouble recalling something he or she just learned, such as a person's name or a phone number. This can occur after just one or two drinks. Drinking a great deal of alcohol quickly can trigger a blackout-- not being able to recall whole occurrences, like what he or she did the night before. An individual may find it difficult to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol harms the hippocampus.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is necessary for coordination, to form thoughts, and focus. When alcohol gets in the cerebellum, an individual may have difficulty with these abilities. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands may be so unsteady that they can't touch or take hold of things properly, and they might fail to keep their balance and fall.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does a fantastic number of the physical body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol frustrates the work of the hypothalamus. After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the need to urinate intensify while physical body temperature level and heart rate decline.
Alcohol in fact cools down the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause a person's physical body temperature to fall below normal.
A person may have trouble with these abilities once alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands might be so shaky that they cannot touch or get hold of things properly, and they might lose their equilibrium and tumble.
After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the desire to urinate increase while physical body temperature and heart rate decline.
Alcohol actually cools down the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can trigger a person's body temperature to fall below normal.
signs of withdrawal