Drinking Alcohol Can Cause Modifications In the Growing Brain

Alcohol consumption can cause modifications in the structure and operation of the blossoming brain, which continues to develop into a person's mid 20s, and it may have repercussions reaching far beyond teenage years.

In adolescence, brain growth is identified by dramatic modifications to the brain's structure, neural connections ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain alter everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and judgment.

Not all portions of the juvenile brain mature simultaneously, which might put an adolescent at a disadvantage in specific situations. For instance, the limbic areas of the brain develop earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas control emotions and are connected with a juvenile's decreased level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are accountable for self-control, judgment, reasoning, analytic skills, and impulse control. Variations in maturation among parts of the brain can result in careless choices or actions and a disregard for consequences.

How Alcohol Alters the Brain Alcohol alters an adolescent's brain development in numerous ways. The repercussions of minor alcohol consumption on particular brain activities are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, initially, it depresses the part of the human brain that regulates inhibitions.

CEREBRAL CORTEX-- Alcohol hampers the cerebral cortex as it processes details from an individual's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks of something he desires his body to do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends a signal to that part of the physical body. Alcohol reduces the central nervous system, making the individual think, communicate, and move more slowly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are necessary for planning, creating ideas, decision making, and using self-control.

Once alcohol impacts the frontal lobes of the human brain, a person might find it difficult to manage his or her feelings and urges. The individual might act without thinking or might even become violent. drinking 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 reaches the hippocampus, an individual may have trouble recollecting a thing she or he just learned, such as a person's name or a telephone number. This can take place after just a couple of drinks. Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not being able to recall entire incidents, such as what she or he did the night before. A person may find it hard to learn and to hold on to knowledge if alcohol injures the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is important for coordination, ideas, and attention. Once alcohol goes into the cerebellum, an individual may have trouble with these abilities. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands may be so unsteady that they can't touch or get hold of things properly, and they may lose their balance and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does a remarkable number of the physical body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol upsets the operation of the hypothalamus. After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the need to urinate increase while physical body temperature and heart rate decrease.

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

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

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

Alcohol actually chills the physical body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger an individual's body temperature level to drop below normal.

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