Alcohol consumption can trigger changes in the structure and function of the growing brain, which continues to develop into an individual's mid 20s, and it may have repercussions reaching far beyond adolescence.
In adolescence, brain growth is defined by remarkable modifications to the brain's architecture, neural connections ("electrical wiring"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain disturb everything from developing sexuality to emotions and cognitive ability.
Not all parts of the juvenile brain mature at the same time, which may put a youth at a disadvantage in certain situations. The limbic regions of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas manage feelings and are related to a juvenile's lowered level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-control, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can lead to careless choices or actions and a neglect for consequences.
The way Alcohol Disturbs the Brain
Alcohol alters a juvenile's brain growth in several ways. The repercussions of underage drinking on particular brain activities are explained below.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol can seem to be a stimulant because, to begin with, it suppresses the portion of the brain that manages inhibitions.
CORTEX-- Alcohol hampers the cerebral cortex as it processes details from a person's senses.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When a person thinks about something he desires his body to undertake, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spine-- sends out a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, making the person think, speak, and move more slowly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are very important for organizing, forming concepts, decision making, and employing self-discipline.
An individual might find it difficult to manage his or her emotions and urges when alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual might act without thinking or may even become violent. Consuming alcohol over a long period of time can harm the frontal lobes forever.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the human brain in which memories are created.
When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual may have trouble remembering something she or he just learned, like a name or a phone number. This can happen after just a couple of alcoholic beverages.
Drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not having the ability to recollect entire occurrences, like what exactly she or he did last night.
If alcohol harms the hippocampus, an individual may find it hard to learn and to hang on to knowledge.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, thoughts, and awareness. An individual might have trouble with these skills when alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands may be so tremulous that they cannot touch or get hold of 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 variety of the physical body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol frustrates the work of the hypothalamus. After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the need to urinate intensify while physical body temperature level and heart rate decline.
MEDULLA-- The medulla manages the physical body's automatic actions, such as a person's heart beat. It also keeps the body at the right temperature. Alcohol really chills the physical body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in chilly climates can cause a person's body temperature to drop below normal. This dangerous situation is termed hypothermia.
alcohol addiction might have trouble with these abilities when 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 normally, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and tumble.
After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the desire to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.
Alcohol actually cools down the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger an individual's body temperature level to drop below normal.