There have been numerous studies throughout the years about the effects of alcohol on the brain, yet still a majority of people don’t seem to truly understand these effects of alcohol on the brain. Maybe they don’t care, or perhaps they don’t believe that the effects of alcohol on the brain is all that important to them.
The most common assumption that people have is that alcohol depresses the system, and the brain, causing it to react slower to stimuli. Yes, it does. It impairs judgment and better reasoning skills. But that’s not the crux of the greater dilemma. That effect of alcohol on the brain is only temporary and will alleviate itself with the passage of time.
Then there’s the age old adage that alcohol kills brain cells. This, it does. People shrug this off, thinking that since there are approximately ten billion brain cells in the average brain, and that we only use about ten percent of our brains, then there are plenty to spare. Plus, they’re cells, right? Cells regenerate, so what’s the deal.
Let me dispel the myths for you
Yes, the brain has about ten billion brain cells in it, but it uses just about every single one every day. When a brain cells dies off, whether from alcohol or a lack of oxygen or some other cause, new ones don’t grow in its place. The brain cell is dead and that means it is permanent.
The average individual uses almost every part of their brain all of the time. That old wive’s tale about people only using ten percent of their brain has long been debunked. Any time a person kills off a brain cell, then the brain has to find a way to reroute information. Over time, and with enough brain cells destroyed, this can lead to slower motor function, difficulty with memory, and even anger and aggression.
A person who has destroyed many brain cells will basically have brain damage, even if they seem capable of functioning still at a high level. Alcohol and drugs are the most common ways that people destroy their own brains, causing significant brain damage, given enough time.
More effects of alcohol on the brain
Forget about the last time that you went out to the bar on a Friday night, had several drinks, felt cool, confident, and relaxed and then proceeded to make a complete fool out of yourself. Not quite sure that you did those things? If you drank and had a ‘buzz,’ then you did. Trust me. Friends might have thought it was cool, but in reality, you weren’t yourself. You didn’t behave as you would normally behave and that’s because the alcohol altered or muted your inhibitions.
Long-term effects of alcohol and the brain
As mentioned, when a person drinks, he or she is destroying brain cells, one at a time. Over the course of many years, this will actually cause significant changes in the brain, which are permanent. Depression is a common side effect of the damage, addiction is certainly a by-product, and feelings of anger, hostility, restlessness, and frustration can be much more readily experienced.
The brain is trying to cope with the damage, but over time, enough brain cells are destroyed and the pathways become more challenging to find throughout the brain. A person who shows hostility toward people whom never displayed this kind of behavior most likely have something going on in their brain that is damaged and causing this behavior.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that stress of everyday life isn’t going to play a part, but for the purposes of this article, we are talking about alcohol and the effects of alcohol on the brain.
Alcohol is a drug and the chemical mixes with other chemicals naturally occurring in the brain. This mixture can alter a person’s inhibitions and their sense of happiness and fulfillment. People who drink a lot end up feeling depressed often, especially when they’re not drinking. This often leads to them taking another drink before they normally would have.
The effects of alcohol on the brain are serious and dangerous and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect that someone you know has a problem with alcohol, or that alcohol has affected their life, then it’s time to seek professional guidance and help.
Dr. Fleming’s solution:
Dr. Fleming has long been working on studying the brain and psychology and addiction for most of his professional career and, through his efforts, has unlocked a number of incredible keys to overcoming any number of challenges. His customized one-on-one approach has helped thousands of clients from around the world improve their lives, overcome addictions, and become better people.
Dr. Fleming’s vast experience includes:
- PhD trained with experience in not only addiction and clinical arenas but also corporate and executive development arenas.
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