Alcohol consumption can trigger changes in the architecture and function of the developing brain, which continues to develop into an individual's mid 20s, and it might have repercussions reaching far beyond teenage years.
In adolescence, brain growth is defined by dramatic modifications to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain affect everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.
Not all parts of the juvenile brain mature at the same time, which might put a juvenile at a disadvantage in specific scenarios. The limbic areas of the brain mature sooner than the frontal lobes.
Ways Alcohol Alters the Human Brain Alcohol affects an adolescent's brain growth in numerous ways. The results of juvenile drinking on particular brain functions 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 brain that manages inhibitions.
CEREBRAL CORTEX-- Alcohol impedes the cortex as it processes information from an individual's senses.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks about something he wants his body to undertake, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spine-- sends out a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol hinders the central nervous system, making the person think, communicate, and move more slowly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are very important for organizing, forming ideas, making decisions, and exercising self-control.
An individual may find it difficult to manage his or her emotions and urges once alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the brain. The person might act without thinking or might even get violent. Consuming alcohol over a long period of time can injure the frontal lobes permanently.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the human brain in which memories are created. When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual might have trouble recollecting a thing she or he just learned, such as a name or a phone number. This can occur after just one or two drinks. Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can trigger a blackout-- not being able to remember entire occurrences, like what he or she did the night before. If alcohol damages the hippocampus, an individual may find it hard to learn and to hold on to information.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is essential for coordination, ideas, and attention. When alcohol goes into the cerebellum, a person may have difficulty with these skills. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands might be so unsteady that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they may lose their equilibrium and fall.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does an incredible variety of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol upsets the operation of the hypothalamus. After an individual consumes alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the impulse to urinate intensify while body temperature and heart rate decrease.
Alcohol in fact chills the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause an individual's physical body temperature to fall below normal.
An individual may have difficulty with these abilities when alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands might be so unsteady that they can't touch or grab things normally, and they might lose their balance and tumble.
After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while body temperature levels and heart rate decline.
Alcohol in fact chills the physical body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger a person's body temperature level to fall below normal.
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