Alcohol Use Can Create Changes In The Growing Brain

Alcohol can cause modifications in the structure and function of the growing brain, which continues to mature into a person's mid 20s, and it might have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.

In adolescence, brain development is characterized by dramatic changes to the brain's structure, neural connections ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain alter everything from developing sexuality to emotions and judgment.

Not all parts of the adolescent brain mature at the same time, which might put an adolescent at a disadvantage in specific circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes.

The way Alcohol Disturbs the Human Brain Alcohol affects an adolescent's brain development in numerous ways. The consequences of minor alcohol consumption on specific brain activities are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, at the start, it suppresses the portion of the human brain that regulates inhibitions.

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CORTEX-- Alcohol hinders the cerebral cortex as it processes information from a person's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When a person thinks of something he wants his body to do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends a signal to that portion of the physical body. Alcohol impedes the central nervous system, making the person think, communicate, and move slower.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are important for planning, forming concepts, making decisions, and employing self-discipline.

When alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the human brain, a person might find it difficult to manage his or her feelings and urges. The person may act without thinking or might even get violent. Drinking alcohol over an extended period of time can harm the frontal lobes forever.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the part of the human brain where memories are generated. When alcohol gets to the hippocampus, an individual may have trouble remembering a thing she or he just learned, like a name or a phone number. This can occur after just one or two alcoholic beverages. Drinking a great deal of alcohol quickly can cause a blackout-- not having the ability to recollect entire happenings, like what exactly he or she did last night. If alcohol injures the hippocampus, an individual might find it tough to learn and to hang on to knowledge.

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CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, to form thoughts, and awareness. Once alcohol goes into the cerebellum, an individual may have difficulty with these abilities. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands might be so unsteady that they can't touch or get hold of things normally, and they might lose their equilibrium and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does an incredible variety of the body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the need to urinate increase while physical body temperature level and heart rate decline.

MEDULLA-- The medulla manages the body's automatic actions, like a person's heartbeat. It also keeps the body at the right temperature. Alcohol in fact chills the body. Drinking a great deal of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can trigger an individual's physical body temperature level to fall below normal. This harmful condition is called hypothermia.

A person might have trouble with these abilities once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands might be so tremulous that they cannot touch or take hold of things properly, and they may fail to keep their balance and fall.

After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while physical body temperature levels and heart rate decrease.

Alcohol actually cools down the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause a person's body temperature level to fall below normal.

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