Alcohol and Its Effects on the Brain

Posted on: March 6, 2020 by in Alcoholism Treatment
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The brain is an extremely vascularized, complex organ. The reason for the brain having so many blood vessels is so that the brain receives an adequate supply of oxygen. When the brain receives an adequate supply, it can continue to function and supply the body with basic life. The brain functions to regulate breathing patterns, sleep patterns, keeping an individual from vomiting, and even planning out muscle movements so an individual can walk! There are a lot more functions of the brain, but when alcohol is introduced, these functions are impaired.

What is the brain’s job with alcohol?

The brain does not metabolize the alcohol like the liver or filter alcohol out of the blood like the kidneys. Instead, the brain comes into contact with alcohol through blood vessels and is temporarily impaired. So really, the brain does not do anything with alcohol except come into contact with it. Once alcohol enters the blood stream, the blood travels through large and small blood vessels that lead it up to the brain. Alcohol slows the brain’s ability to function causing slurring of words, balance problems, and intoxication.

What happens when it’s too much alcohol for the brain?

When an individual drinks more than the recommended amount, the brain becomes increasingly more prone to damage. It can cause memory loss. When there is liver damage, the brain is indirectly involved – leading to encephalopathy. Encephalopathy is when there are any changes in brain functions. This can affect personality, memory, judgement, breathing pattern, and cause comas. As with any damage in the body, any damage to the brain is permanent.

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