Drinking and dealing with hangovers is taking up more and more of your or a loved one’s time. You may see the consequences of their actions, but your warnings seem to have little effect. Now, you notice some additional changes and wonder, “How does alcohol affect the brain?”
The Brain’s Immediate Response to Alcohol’s Chemicals
Did you know that slurred speech and an impairment of ambulatory skills are actually signs of the brain’s response to alcohol? They occur after a drink or maybe two and resolve as quickly as alcohol leaves the body.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain?
Alcohol causes cognitive effects that aren’t easy to recognize at first. They’re also not so easy to resolve. Typically, the extent of brain damage depends on the length of time someone spends abusing alcohol. An individual’s age at the onset of an alcohol use disorder is another crucial factor. For example, teens who begin abusing alcohol often suffer more severe brain damage.
With excessive drinking, blackouts also occur. Frequently, they take place after drinking more than the body can safely metabolize. Therefore, you won’t remember what happened during a blackout. Even so, you’ll still do things you might not consider when sober.
Overall, the long-time exposure to alcohol gradually shrinks the brain. Women are at higher risk of developing this than men are. Likewise, excessive alcohol use leads to learning difficulties and memory problems. Since alcohol overuse results in vitamin B1 deficiencies, the brain’s tissues sustain damage.
If alcohol abuse continues, individuals may develop Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which results in spatial confusion. A related disorder, Korsakoff’s psychosis, is a chronic condition with similar symptoms. People with this diagnosis frequently require daily living assistance at nursing facilities.
Stopping Alcohol Abuse at Steps to Recovery
There’s always hope for overcoming alcohol abuse. Working with therapists who prioritize their clients allows for a flexible treatment setting. In addition, it offers access to custom modalities including:
It’s never too late to end substance abuse. If you or your loved one needs help, you don’t have to do it alone. Whether this is your first time in rehab or your tenth, reach out for help at Steps to Recovery. Call 866-488-8684 today for more information on how does alcohol affect the brain.