Alterations In The Developing Brain from Alcohol Use?

Alcohol consumption can cause alterations in the architecture and operation of the growing brain, which continues to mature into a person's mid 20s, and it may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.

In adolescence, brain development is identified by remarkable changes to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("electrical wiring"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain disturb everything from developing sexuality to emotions and judgment.

Not all portions of the adolescent brain mature simultaneously, which may put a youth at a disadvantage in certain situations. The limbic areas of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas regulate feelings and are connected with an adolescent's reduced level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-control, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Variations in maturation amongst parts of the brain can result in rash decisions or actions and a disregard for repercussions.

Ways Alcohol Disturbs the Human Brain Alcohol alters an adolescent's brain development in numerous ways. The repercussions of underage alcohol consumption on particular brain activities are explained below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative drug. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, at the start, it depresses the portion of the human brain that regulates inhibitions.

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CORTEX-- Alcohol slows down the cortex as it processes details 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 a signal to that part of the body. Alcohol reduces the central nervous system, making the individual think, speak, and move more slowly.

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FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are necessary for organizing, forming ideas, making decisions, and using self-control.

An individual might find it difficult to manage his or her feelings and urges when alcohol impacts the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual may act without thinking or may even become violent. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time can damage the frontal lobes permanently.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the part of the brain where memories are created. Once alcohol gets to the hippocampus, a person may have trouble remembering something she or he just learned, like a person's name or a phone number. This can occur after just a couple of alcoholic beverages. Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not having the ability to recollect entire happenings, like what exactly she or he did last night. A person might find it difficult to learn and to hold on to knowledge if alcohol harms the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is essential for coordination, to form thoughts, and attention. Once alcohol goes into the cerebellum, a person may have difficulty with these abilities. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands might be so tremulous that they can't touch or take hold of things properly, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and fall.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does a remarkable number of the physical body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After a person consumes alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the urge to urinate intensify while body temperature level and heart rate decrease.

Alcohol actually cools down the physical body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger an individual's physical body temperature level to drop below normal.

An individual might have trouble with these skills when alcohol enters the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands might be so shaky that they can't touch or get hold of things normally, and they might fail to keep their balance and tumble.

After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the urge to urinate increase while physical body temperature levels and heart rate decline.

Alcohol in fact cools down the physical body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause a person's physical body temperature to drop below normal.

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