Alcohol Consumption Can Create Changes In the Growing Brain

Alcohol can cause changes in the architecture and operation of the developing brain, which continues to grow into an individual's mid 20s, and it might have repercussions reaching far beyond adolescence.

In adolescence, brain development is defined by remarkable changes to the brain's structure, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain alter everything from emerging sexuality to emotions and judgment.



Not all portions of the juvenile brain mature at the same time, which might put a juvenile at a disadvantage in certain scenarios. For example, the limbic regions of the brain develop quicker than the frontal lobes. The limbic regions manage feelings and are associated with a juvenile's lowered 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 lead to careless choices or actions and a neglect for consequences.

The way Alcohol Affects the Brain Alcohol alters an adolescent's brain development in many ways. The results of adolescent alcohol consumption on specialized brain activities are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, at the start, it suppresses the portion of the human brain that manages inhibitions.

CEREBRAL CORTEX-- Alcohol slows down the cerebral cortex as it works with details from a person'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 spine-- sends a signal to that part of the physical body. Alcohol hinders the central nervous system, making the person think, communicate, and move less quickly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are essential for organizing, creating concepts, making decisions, and employing self-discipline.

A person might find it difficult to control his or her emotions and urges once alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual may act without thinking or might even get violent. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time can injure the frontal lobes permanently.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain in which memories are created. Once alcohol gets to the hippocampus, a person might have difficulty recalling a thing she or he just learned, such as a name or a phone number. This can happen after just a couple of alcoholic beverages. drinking a great deal of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not being able to recall entire occurrences, like what exactly she or he did last night. An individual may find it tough to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol harms the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is important for coordination, thoughts, and awareness. When alcohol enters the cerebellum, an individual may have difficulty with these skills. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands might be so unsteady that they can't touch or get hold of things properly, and they may fail to keep their equilibrium and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small 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 consumes alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the need to urinate intensify while body temperature and heart rate decline.

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

A person may have trouble with these skills once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands may be so unsteady that they can't touch or get hold of things properly, and they might lose their equilibrium and tumble.

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

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

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