Alcohol consumption can trigger changes in the structure and operation of the growing brain, which continues to mature into a person's mid 20s, and it might have repercussions reaching far beyond adolescence.
In adolescence, brain development is defined by remarkable modifications to the brain's structure, neuron connectivity ("electrical wiring"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain affect everything from developing sexuality to emotions and cognitive ability.
Not all parts of the juvenile brain mature concurrently, which might put a youth at a disadvantage in specific circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic regions manage feelings and are related to an adolescent's reduced level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-regulation, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Variations in maturation among parts of the brain can result in rash choices or actions and a neglect for consequences.
Ways Alcohol Alters the Human Brain Alcohol affects an adolescent's brain development in several ways. The repercussions of minor alcohol consumption on specific brain functions are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, to begin with, it suppresses the part of the brain that regulates inhibitions.
CORTEX-- Alcohol reduces the cerebral 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 spine-- sends a signal to that part of the body. Alcohol impedes the central nervous system, making the individual think, speak, and move less quickly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are very important for organizing, forming concepts, making decisions, and employing self-discipline.
Once alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain, a person may find it difficult to manage his or her feelings and impulses. The person might act without thinking or might even get violent. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time can damage the frontal lobes permanently.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain where memories are made. When alcohol gets to the hippocampus, an individual may have trouble recollecting a thing she or he just learned, such as a person's name or a telephone number. This can occur after just a couple of alcoholic beverages. Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not being able to recollect whole happenings, like what exactly he or she did the night before. If alcohol harms the hippocampus, an individual might find it hard to learn and to hold on to information.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, ideas, and attention. A person may have difficulty with these skills once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands may be so unsteady that they can't touch or take hold of things properly, and they might fail to keep their balance and tumble.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does a fantastic number of the physical body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the work of the hypothalamus. After a person consumes alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the impulse to urinate intensify while physical body temperature and heart rate decline.
Alcohol actually chills the physical body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can cause a person's body temperature to drop below normal.
A person may have difficulty with these abilities once alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands might be so unsteady that they cannot touch or grab things normally, and they might lose their equilibrium and tumble.
After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the urge to urinate increase while physical body temperature levels and heart rate decline.
Alcohol in fact cools down the body. drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can trigger a person's physical body temperature to drop below normal.