Effects of Alcohol on the Brain Biology 101

Topics: Alcoholism, Brain, Cerebral cortex Pages: 5 (1359 words) Published: October 27, 2011
Effects of Alcohol on The Brain |

This paper is on the effects of alcohol on the brain, the damage that it causes to the nervous system and other organs, and the long term effects of alcohol dependency. |

Alcohol affects many parts of the human brain, but generally, alcohol affects the brain tissue and depresses the nervous system. Alcohol also can destroy brain cells. The problem with the destruction of brain cells it that they can never be regenerated, once they are lost, they are lost forever. Excessive drinking or binge drinking over a long period of time can cause detrimental problems to the memory and cognition. Alcohol can also greatly affect the

* Cerebral cortex
* Limbic system
* Cerebellum
* Hypothalamus
* Pituitary gland
* The medulla
The cerebral cortex processes our thoughts, our senses, and is the house of our voluntary muscle movement. When the cerebral cortex is inhabited by alcohol, it makes our bodies slow down on its reaction time and can cause poor judgment. This can also cause someone who is intoxicated to become very talkative and more confident. The more alcohol consumption there is the greater these effects become. The limbic system controls the memory and emotions. The effect alcohol has on the limbic system is that the person who is intoxicated can encounter memory loss and uncontrollable emotional outbursts. The cerebellum controls our muscular movements. When the cerebellum is affected by alcohol it can cause involuntary muscle movements and uncoordination. The hypothalamus controls the automatic functions and hormonal release. Alcohol affects the hypothalamus through sexual performance and arousal. When someone is intoxicated they are more sexually aroused, but there performance may not be as it normally would. Alcohol also effects our body’s urine excretion, which is controlled by the pituitary glands. The kidneys act as a sponge. When the anti diuretic hormone is inhabited, its levels drop. This causes the kidneys to not absorb as much water as they normally would, and this leads to the production of more urine. The medulla controls our body’s automatic functions such as heart rate, breathing, and our body’s natural temperature. When the medulla is effects by alcohol, the intoxicated person starts to feel faint and if not monitored, can lead to unconsciousness. This is what leads to death from alcohol consumption. Once the body become immune to the alcohol it takes more and more for a blackout to occur, and when they do they can be life threatening. Too much alcohol consumption can cause alcohol poisoning. Some side effects of alcohol poisoning are: * Mental confusion

* Coma
* Vomiting
* Slow breathing
* Seizures
* Hypothermia
* Irregular heart beat
* Permanent brain damage
* Death.
Over the past few decades, researches have seen a steady decline in ages of first use of alcohol. This means that younger children are experimenting with alcohol, which leads to greater effects on the brain because their brains are not fully developed and can cause dependency. Life time alcohol use in youth has been shown to have poorer recall of nonverbal and verbal information. Some evidence has suggested that negative effects of alcohol on the brain may be buffered in part by neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids (Mahmood M. Omar, PHD (2010) 1).Abstract. During adolescence, as the brain undergoes substantial development changes in the transition to adulthood, a significant portion of teenagers use substances that can alter neural structure and function. The most popular of the substances are alcohol and cannabis. Heavy alcohol use in adults is associated with neural dysfunction and cognitive defects, particularly in the domains of memory (Mahmood M. Omar, PHD (2010) 1).Abstract. Adolescences who tend demonstrate greater sensitivity to the effects of alcohol on cognition (White et al.,2000),...
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