Effects of Alcohol on Brain Functioning and Neurotransmitters

Topics: Brain, Hypothalamus, Hippocampus Pages: 4 (1042 words) Published: October 24, 2010
Effects of alcohol on brain functioning and neurotransmitters The consumption of alcohol can cause an effect on several parts of the brain including the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, medulla and the limbic system (How alcohol works 2008). Each sector responds differently to alcohol, causing changes in specific behaviors. Cerebral cortex

The role of the cerebral cortex is to decipher information received from the senses, processing thought, speech, and memory and indicating the majority of voluntary muscle movements. When alcohol enters the brain, it causes an effect on thought processes, forcing the individual to make poor judgment. It also depresses inhibition, resulting in the person becoming increasingly confident and talkative (Blood Alcohol information 2006-2010).

Limbic system
Consisting of the hippocampus and septal area of the brain, the Limbic system controls memory and emotions. An intoxicated person may experience memory loss and may suffer from exaggerated states of emotion (Blood Alcohol information 2006-2010).

The cerebellum coordinates muscle movement. It does this by sending signals through the medulla and spinal cord, to the muscles. As the nerve signals pass through the medulla, they are affected by nerve impulses from the cerebellum, controlling fine movements, such as balance. When alcohol is consumed the result is un-coordinated movement (Blood Alcohol information 2006-2010).

Majority of the autonomic functions in the brain as well as hormone release is controlled by the hypothalamus. Alcohol acts by depressing the nerve centers in the hypothalamus which control sexual performance and arousal. As the level of alcohol increases, the level of sexual desires increases, but performance decreases. Alcohol also affects the pituitary gland by inhibiting the secretions of the Antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which also effects urine excretion. The Antidiuretic hormone works on the kidney to help reabsorb...
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