Using Alcohol Can Trigger Alterations In The Blossoming Brain

Alcohol can cause changes in the structure and operation of the blossoming brain, which continues to develop into a person's mid 20s, and it might have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.

In adolescence, brain development is defined by remarkable changes to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain affect everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.

Not all parts of the adolescent brain mature at the same time, which may put a juvenile at a disadvantage in particular circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature sooner than the frontal lobes.

Ways Alcohol Disturbs the Human Brain Alcohol alters an adolescent's brain development in several ways. The results of minor alcohol consumption on specific brain activities are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, to begin with, it depresses the part of the brain that controls inhibitions.

CORTEX-- Alcohol impedes the cortex as it processes details from a person's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks of something he desires his body to undertake, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spine-- sends out a signal to that part of the body. Alcohol hampers the central nervous system, making the person think, communicate, and move more slowly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are very important for advanced planning, creating ideas, decision making, and employing self-control.

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When alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the brain, an individual may find it tough to control his or her emotions and impulses. The person may act without thinking or might even become violent. Drinking alcohol over a long period of time can injure the frontal lobes permanently.

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HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the part of the brain where memories are made. When alcohol gets to the hippocampus, a person might have difficulty recalling something he or she just learned, like a name or a telephone number. This can occur after just a couple of drinks. Drinking a great deal of alcohol quickly can trigger a blackout-- not having the ability to remember whole events, like what exactly she or he did the night before. A person might find it tough to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol damages the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, thoughts, and awareness. Once alcohol goes into the cerebellum, an individual might have trouble with these abilities. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands may be so tremulous that they cannot touch or grab things normally, and they might lose their balance and fall.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does an incredible number of the physical body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol frustrates the work of the hypothalamus. After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the need to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.

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

An individual might have difficulty with these abilities once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands may be so shaky that they can't touch or grab things properly, and they may fail to keep their balance and tumble.

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

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

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