Alcohol Can Cause Changes In The Structure And Operation Of The Growing Brain

Alcohol consumption can trigger changes in the architecture and operation of the growing brain, which continues to develop into a person's mid 20s, and it might have repercussions reaching far beyond teenage years.

In adolescence, brain development is characterized by dramatic modifications to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("electrical wiring"), and physiology. These changes in the brain affect everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.

Not all portions of the adolescent brain mature at the same time, which may put a juvenile at a disadvantage in certain circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas control feelings and are connected with an adolescent's reduced sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-control, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can result in careless choices or acts and a disregard for consequences.

The way Alcohol Alters the Brain Alcohol affects an adolescent's brain development in several ways. The results of adolescent drinking on particular brain functions are detailed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, at the start, it suppresses the part of the brain that governs inhibitions.

CORTEX-- Alcohol hinders the cerebral cortex as it processes information from an individual's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When a person thinks of something he desires his body to undertake, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends out a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol impedes the central nervous system, making the person think, speak, and move more slowly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are very important for organizing, creating concepts, making decisions, and exercising self-control.

When alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the brain, an individual may find it tough to control his/her feelings and impulses. The person may act without thinking or might even become violent. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time can harm the frontal lobes forever.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the part of the brain where memories are generated. When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual may have trouble recollecting something she or he just learned, like a name or a phone number. This can take place after just one or two alcoholic beverages. Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can trigger a blackout-- not being able to remember whole happenings, such as what exactly she or he did the night before. A person might find it difficult to learn and to hold on to knowledge if alcohol harms the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is necessary for coordination, ideas, and attention. A person might have difficulty with these skills when alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands might be so shaky that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does an incredible number of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the work of the hypothalamus. After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the need to urinate increase while physical body temperature level and heart rate decrease.

MEDULLA-- The medulla manages the body's automatic actions, such as a person's heart beat. It also keeps the physical body at the right temperature level. Alcohol really cools down the body. Drinking a great deal of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can trigger an individual's body temperature level to drop below normal. This harmful situation is called hypothermia.

A person might have difficulty with these abilities once alcohol enters the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands may be so unsteady that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they may fail to keep their balance and tumble.

After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decrease.

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

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