Alcohol can cause changes in the structure and function of the growing brain, which continues to develop into a person's mid 20s, and it might have repercussions reaching far beyond teenage years.
In adolescence, brain growth is characterized by dramatic modifications to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain alter everything from developing sexuality to emotions and cognitive ability.
Not all portions of the adolescent brain mature at the same time, which may put a youth at a disadvantage in particular circumstances. The limbic regions of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic regions control emotions and are related to a juvenile's lowered level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are accountable for self-regulation, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Variations in maturation among parts of the brain can result in careless choices or actions and a neglect for consequences.
How Alcohol Affects the Human Brain
Alcohol affects an adolescent's brain development in several ways. The consequences of underage alcohol consumption on specialized brain functions are discussed below.
Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative drug. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, at the start, it suppresses the part of the brain that manages inhibitions.
CORTEX-- Alcohol impedes the cerebral cortex as it processes information from an individual's senses.
CENTRAL NERVOUS drinking -- When a person thinks of something he desires 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 hampers the central nervous system, making the individual think, speak, and move more slowly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are important for advanced planning, forming ideas, making decisions, and exercising self-discipline.
A person may find it hard to control his or her feelings and urges once alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual might act without thinking or might even become violent. Drinking alcohol over a long period of time can harm the frontal lobes permanently.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- Symptoms Of A Hangover is the part of the human brain in which memories are created.
Once alcohol gets to the hippocampus, a person may have difficulty recalling something he or she just learned, like a name or a telephone number. This can occur after just one or two drinks.
Drinking a great deal of alcohol quickly can cause a blackout-- not being able to remember whole incidents, such as what she or he did last night.
If alcohol damages the hippocampus, a person might find it hard to learn and to hold on to knowledge.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is necessary for coordination, ideas, and awareness. An individual may have trouble with these abilities once alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands might be so unsteady that they cannot touch or grab things normally, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and tumble.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does an amazing number of the physical body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After an individual consumes alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate intensify while body temperature level and heart rate decline.
Alcohol actually chills the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger an individual's body temperature level to fall below normal.
A person might have difficulty with these skills when alcohol enters the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands might be so unsteady that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and fall.
After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the desire to urinate increase while physical body temperature levels and heart rate decrease.
Alcohol actually chills the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger a person's physical body temperature to drop below normal.