Drinking Can Trigger Changes In the Blossoming Brain

Alcohol consumption can cause modifications in the structure and operation of the blossoming brain, which continues to develop into a person's mid 20s, and it may have consequences reaching far beyond teenage years.

In adolescence, brain growth is defined by remarkable changes to the brain's architecture, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain disturb everything from developing sexuality to emotionality and cognitive ability.

Not all component parts of the adolescent brain mature simultaneously, which may put an adolescent at a disadvantage in specific situations. For example, the limbic areas of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic regions control emotions and are connected with a juvenile's lowered sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-control, judgment, reasoning, analytic skills, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can result in rash choices or acts and a neglect for repercussions.

How Alcohol Disturbs the Brain Alcohol disturbs an adolescent's brain growth in numerous ways. The effects of minor alcohol consumption on specific brain activities are explained below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative drug. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, at the start, it depresses the part of the brain that regulates inhibitions.

CORTEX-- Alcohol hampers the cortex as it works with details from an individual's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks of something he wants his body to do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends out a signal to that part of the physical body. Alcohol reduces the central nervous system, making the individual think, converse, and move more slowly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are essential for organizing, creating ideas, decision making, and using self-discipline.

A person might find it tough to control his or her emotions and urges when alcohol impacts the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual might act without thinking or may even get violent. Drinking alcohol over an extended period of time can injure the frontal lobes forever.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain in which memories are made. When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, a person might have trouble remembering something she or he just learned, such as a person's name or a phone number. This can occur after just a couple of drinks. Drinking a great deal of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not being able to remember whole occurrences, like what he or she did the night before. An individual may find it hard to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol harms the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, ideas, and focus. When alcohol enters the cerebellum, an individual may have trouble with these abilities. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands might be so shaky that they cannot touch or grab things properly, and they may fail to keep their balance and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does an amazing variety of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After an individual consumes alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the urge to urinate intensify while physical body temperature and heart rate decline.

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

An individual might have difficulty with these abilities once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands may be so shaky that they can't touch or get hold of things properly, and they might fail to keep their balance and fall.

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

Alcohol in fact chills the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause an individual's physical body temperature to fall below normal.

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