The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain


People sometimes fail to realize how dangerous alcohol consumption and misuse can be done to the body but specifically the brain. They find comfort in the effects of alcohol on occasion due to life’s problems. They don’t realize the damage that they are doing because they become indulgent and forget that their brains are going through dramatic changes as they drink. When someone misuses alcohol and eventually gets drunk they don’t think straight or recognize the harm that they could be causing themselves or others. With them not being informed of this misuse they are not able to get a hold of the problem and soon have to face the consequences that alcohol consumption will have on their brain and mental health.

We know that alcohol’s effects on the brain are not good. It affects the parts of the brain that controls our memory, judgement, speech and movement resulting in the inability to walk properly, slurred speech, loss of memory and ridiculous behavior. The brain affects all of these things and the more you drink that worse it gets. About 50% of people who meet diagnostic criteria for alcoholism show some problems in thinking or memory. This shows that people who drink even when they are sober still have some of the symptoms as if they were drunk in parts of their brain. They also lack the ability to give responses during communication and even plan and hold information.

We know that alcohol does effect the daily task of the brain but is also can cause blackouts and seriously damage a person’s memory over time. With these effects it is said that women are more likely to experience these problems then men and are effected quicker then men are. In a recent survey it was reported that 51 percent of people reported blacking out at some point in their lives and 40 percent reported experiencing a blackout in the year before the survey. Of those who reported drinking in the 2 weeks before the survey, 9.4 percent said they blacked out during that time. These blackouts can happen when drunk and even when sober because the person can no longer properly control their brains. They found out that when they consume alcohol and have these blackouts, they were reported to take part in unsafe or dangerous behaviors such as vandalism, unprotected sex and driving. Not having control over your own brain is a scary thing but for these people they don’t even have recollection of these events causing even more harm. The brain lacks nutrients and vitamins it needs to control these blackouts. When the brain lacks special vitamins such as Thiamine due to alcohol abuse it can lead to diseases like Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome. Symptoms of this disease include confusion, visual paralysis, memory problems and loss of coordination.

Many believe that alcohol abuse is under diagnoses and isn’t taken as seriously as it should be when dealing with the brain. However there are ways to help fix this health problem and ways to treat it. The most effective and common way to help this problem is rehabilitation centers to help get the brain and even the person effected back to a normal state. The process of detoxification from alcohol takes three to seven days, after which the alcoholic’s dependency on alcohol is primarily psychological, rather than physical or chemical. The goal after detox is to prevent a relapse of excessive drinking. It is suggested that people who see more effects on the brain should stay in the rehab facility for a longer period of time and go through evaluations and exercises to make sure that their brains and minds are back to a somewhat normal heath. It has been reported that approximately 50% to 60% remain abstinent at the end of a year’s treatment and a majority of those stay dry permanently. Those with poor social support, poor motivation or psychiatric disorders tend to relapse within a few years of treatment. It is suggested that in order for these people to stay clean and keep good mental health that they should make sure to continue to see their doctors and attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups.

Overall the abuse of alcohol on the brain is serious and in some cases can be fatal.  Someone that has this problem is seriously harming their brain function and how they are able to think and rationalize situations. Yes, sometimes stress of different events that occur through life can push us but the best thing to do is to find another outlet to relieve yourself. The way to help this disease is to recognize the problem and get help. If not, you aren’t only going to harm your brain and mental health but also put your life in harm’s way because every decision that you end up making won’t be thought out in the best light. At the end of the day our health is the most important thing and taking care of ourselves and treating our bodies well is important.