Alcohol addiction is a disease that takes a lot of willpower and strength to cure, but it is curable. After heavy drinking for an extended period of time, alcohol has severe effects on both body and mind.
Many people have been drunk, and many more have seen a drunk person, but blurred vision and slowed reaction times are just the tip of the iceberg. If you need help on how to stop drinking, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help.
- Intoxication effects – the most obvious effects, and the immediately recognisable ones are difficulty in walking, slurred speech, low reaction times, no balance, poor judgment. Since these effects wear off after time, they’re considered short term.
- Memory Impairment – there are three types of memory. Sensory (which lasts a few seconds), short-term (which lasts a few minutes), and long-term memory (which can last forever). The most noticeable effect is on sensory memory, when you might injure yourself but don’t feel pain until much later. But with the other two types, the effects manifest differently. With short-term memory, it can happen in the form of a blackout, and it does direct damage to the brain, while for the long-term memory it’s a bit more complicated. Alcohol affects the hippocampus and it prevents it from forming new memories, which can lead to transient amnesia.
One of the worst known effects that alcohol can have on the body is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. The two main symptoms of WKS are both a form of amnesia. One of them is called anterograde amnesia, which leads to the loss of the ability to create new memories. The other is retrograde amnesia, which is the opposite, and leads to the loss of previously-formed memories.
Other effects include the inability to concentrate, confusion, visual disturbances, a lack of situational awareness, among others.
Neurotransmitter are the chemicals that carry message to and from the brain, and alcohol has a severe effect on them.
- GABA – alcohol increases the amount of GABA transmitted, which leads to a decrease in excitability. The effect is akin to a sedative, which is why regular drinkers have trouble with remembering, walking, and talking.
- Dopamine – this is the brain’s chief system of reward, and alcohol causes excessive release of dopamine, which in turn makes the brain consider alcohol use a reward. It’s a prime factor in causing addiction to alcohol. After some time, the brain stops being able to release dopamine without alcohol.
- Endorphins – molecules produced by the central nervous system, they’re produced as a counteractive measure to pain. Instead of regular production for normal activities like laughing and working out, the brain releases them due to alcohol consumption, that in the end lead to depression, lower sex drive, extreme fatigue, and many other complications.
There isn’t a single effect alcohol has on the brain that’s a positive one. It might be accepted in many social circles, and some even consider it a requirement when it comes to having fun. But addiction to alcohol can be caused easily without proper prevention, and if it comes to that, then make sure to always seek professional help.