Alcohol can cause alterations in the architecture and operation of the growing brain, which continues to develop into a person's mid 20s, and it may have consequences reaching far beyond teenage years.
In adolescence, brain development is defined by dramatic modifications to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain alter everything from developing sexuality to emotions and judgment.
Not all parts of the adolescent brain mature at the same time, which may put an adolescent at a disadvantage in specific circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature sooner than the frontal lobes.
Ways Alcohol Alters the Brain Alcohol alters a juvenile's brain growth in numerous ways. The consequences of minor drinking on particular brain functions are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, at the start, it suppresses the portion of the brain that regulates inhibitions.
CORTEX-- Alcohol impedes the cerebral cortex as it processes information from an individual's senses.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks about something he desires his body to do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spinal cord-- sends out a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol hampers the central nervous system, making the individual think, communicate, and move more slowly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are important for organizing, creating concepts, decision making, and employing self-control.
A person might find it difficult to manage his or her emotions and urges when alcohol impacts the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual may act without thinking or might even become violent. Drinking alcohol over a long period of time can damage the frontal lobes permanently.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain where memories are made. When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual may have difficulty recollecting a thing she or he just learned, such as a person's name or a telephone number. This can take place after just a couple of drinks. Drinking a great deal of alcohol rapidly can trigger a blackout-- not being able to recall entire occurrences, like what exactly he or she did the night before. An individual may find it hard to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol damages the hippocampus.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is important for coordination, ideas, and attention. An individual may have trouble with these abilities once alcohol enters the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands might be so tremulous that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they might lose their equilibrium and tumble.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does a fantastic number of the physical body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After a person consumes alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while physical body temperature and heart rate decline.
MEDULLA-- The medulla controls the physical body's unconscious actions, like an individual's heart beat. It likewise keeps the physical body at the best temperature level. Alcohol really chills the physical body. Consuming a great deal of alcohol outdoors in chilly climates can trigger an individual's physical body temperature level to fall below its normal level. This unsafe condition is knowned as hypothermia.
A person might have trouble with these skills when alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands may be so unsteady that they can't touch or get hold of things properly, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and fall.
After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while body temperature levels and heart rate decrease.
Alcohol in fact chills the physical body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can cause a person's body temperature level to fall below normal.