Alcohol Can Trigger Changes In The Structure And Operation Of The Growing Brain

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

In adolescence, brain growth is defined by dramatic changes to the brain's architecture, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain affect everything from emerging sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.

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

How Alcohol Alters the Human Brain Alcohol alters an adolescent's brain development in numerous ways. The results of minor alcohol consumption on specialized brain activities are detailed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative drug. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, at the start, it depresses the portion of the human brain that manages inhibitions.

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

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When a person thinks about something he desires his body to undertake, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol reduces the central nervous system, making the person think, speak, and move less quickly.



FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are very important for advanced planning, creating concepts, making decisions, and employing self-control.

Once alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain, an individual might find it hard to manage his or her feelings and urges. The person may act without thinking or may even get violent. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time can injure the frontal lobes forever.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain where memories are created. When alcohol gets to the hippocampus, an individual might have trouble recalling a thing he or she just learned, such as a name or a telephone number. This can take place after just one or two alcoholic beverages. Drinking a lot of alcohol quickly can cause a blackout-- not having the ability to remember entire happenings, such as what exactly he or she did last night. A person might find it hard to learn and to hold on to knowledge if alcohol damages the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, ideas, and focus. An individual might have trouble with these abilities once alcohol enters the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands may be so unsteady that they can't touch or grab things properly, and they may fail to keep their balance and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does a fantastic number of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol upsets the work of the hypothalamus. After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the need to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decrease.

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

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An individual might have trouble with these skills once alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands may be so shaky that they can't touch or grab things normally, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and fall.

After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the urge to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.

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

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