Alcohol Abuse & The Brain

Drinking alcoholic drinks is an accepted vice in the United States, but it’s important to keep in mind that excessive consumption can lead to a whole host of negative consequences for the individual. For instance, people who consume high levels of alcohol are at greater risk of developing a number of serious medical conditions, are more likely to experience personal difficulties, and may suffer from brain-related effects.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at alcohol abuse and how it impacts the brain on both a short- and long-term basis. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming alcohol addiction, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team by calling 855-222-1610.

What Does Alcohol Do To The Body? 

Anyone who’s consumed high volumes of alcohol will know it can have a negative impact on the body. A single evening of heavy drinking can result in a hangover or, in some extreme cases, alcohol poisoning. 

The impact of long-term, heavy drinking can be even more severe. Alcohol has been linked to hundreds of medical conditions, including liver disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure. A number of cancers, including liver, colon, mouth, and breast, have also been linked to alcohol consumption.

Additionally, alcohol can have a corrosive impact on all-around physical conditioning because of its impact on the individual’s personal life. The person may be less likely to eat healthy meals, exercise, and get enough sleep, to name just three factors that contribute to physical health.

Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?  

It’s often said that alcohol kills brain cells, but that’s not technically true. Yet, while alcoholic drinks won’t kill the drinkers’ brain cells, it does sometimes feel like it — and even if those brain cells are still alive, they’ll be more likely to be impaired.

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has been shown to lead to brain shrinkage, most notably in the parts of the brain that control memory and cognition. Over time, people who drink alcohol excessively can begin to demonstrate problems making decisions, short attention spans, and memory loss, among other brain-related functions.

Long-term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse has both short- and long-term effects. On a long-term basis, individuals who abuse alcohol are much more likely to experience a host of health conditions, including liver disease and heart disease. 

Studies have shown that long-term drinking can lead to a diminishment in the brain’s gray and white matter. This impact can lead to changes in personality, moodiness, and reckless behavior.

There can be personal consequences that make life more stressful and difficult, too. People with alcohol addiction tend to have problems with their careers, personal relationships, and finances.

Disorders Linked to ARBI 

ARBI stands for Alcohol Related Brain Impairment. It affects people who drink excessively for long periods of time and can cause a number of symptoms, including difficulty with coordination, memory, and concentration.

There are a number of medical disorders linked to ARBI, including:

  • Frontal Lobe Dysfunction (cognitive difficulties).
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (mood changes, confusion).
  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy (vision problems, ataxia).
  • Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome (short-term memory loss, hallucinations).

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Alcohol can cause short-term and long-term memory loss. Drinking excessive amounts in a short period can result in blackouts, during which the individual can not fully recall the drinking experience. This happens because excessive alcohol consumption impacts the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is responsible for memory processing. 

Long-term alcohol drinkers also find it difficult to recall details from their past. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what precise aspect of long-term drinking causes memory loss, but the fact that there is a connection is widely accepted.

Alcohol Abuse and Brain Development

Alcohol abuse can be especially damaging to developing brains. The brain is not fully developed until a person is in their early twenties. Younger persons who abuse alcohol are more likely to suffer from:

  • Poor vision
  • Poor coordination
  • Slower reaction times.

It’s recommended that young adults wait until they are of legal age before partaking in alcohol consumption.

Get Help For Alcohol Addiction Today

As we’ve seen, excessive alcohol consumption can have a significant impact on the brain. The best way to protect your brain functionality is to cease drinking. If you need some help getting your alcohol addiction under control, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the caring, professional team at Peaks Recovery. We’ve helped countless number of people overcome their substance abuse problems in the past, and we’re sure that we can do the same for you. 

Call at 855-222-1610 to speak to our friendly team. 

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.