Drinking Can Trigger Modifications In the Blossoming Brain

Alcohol consumption can cause changes in the structure and function of the growing brain, which continues to mature into a person's mid 20s, and it may have repercussions reaching far beyond adolescence.

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

Not all parts of the juvenile brain mature concurrently, which might put an adolescent at a disadvantage in certain circumstances. For example, the limbic areas of the brain mature quicker than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas regulate feelings and are connected with an adolescent's decreased level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are accountable for self-control, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can result in rash choices or actions and a disregard for repercussions.

How Alcohol Affects the Human Brain Alcohol alters an adolescent's brain development in numerous ways. The effects of juvenile drinking on specific brain activities are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, initially, it depresses the portion of the brain that controls inhibitions.

CORTEX-- Alcohol hinders the cortex as it processes details 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 spine-- sends out a signal to that portion of the body. Alcohol hinders the central nervous system, making the individual think, communicate, and move slower.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are important for advanced planning, forming ideas, decision making, and employing self-discipline.

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

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain in which memories are created. When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, an individual might have trouble recalling a thing he or she just learned, such as a person's name or a telephone number. This can take place after just one or two drinks. Drinking a great deal of alcohol rapidly can cause a blackout-- not being able to remember whole happenings, like what he or she did the night before. An individual may find it difficult to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol injures the hippocampus.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, to form thoughts, and attention. A person may have difficulty with these abilities when alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands may be so shaky that they cannot touch or get hold of things normally, and they might lose their balance and tumble.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a little part of the brain that does a fantastic variety of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After a person consumes alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the need to urinate intensify while physical body temperature level and heart rate decrease.

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

An individual might have trouble with these skills when alcohol gets in the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, an individual's hands might be so shaky that they cannot touch or take hold of things normally, and they might fail to keep their equilibrium and tumble.

After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, being thirsty, and the desire to urinate increase while physical body temperature levels and heart rate decrease.

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

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