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Effects of Alcohol on Central Nervous System

Table of Contents

  1. Alcohol and Central Nervous System
  2. How Greatly Will Alcoholism Affect the Brain?
  3. Alcohol’s action in the brain
  4. Excitatory
  5. Inhibitory
  6. Effects of alcohol on Brain
  7. Treatment and Prevention against alcohol addiction

Alcohol and Central Nervous System

Human nervous system is made up of spinal cord and brain, to function properly both of these must be strong and support your body. But alcohol addiction takes control of the central nervous system. The normal intake of alcohol consumption can also leads to severe problems and affect nervous system. Normal alcohol intake can temporarily impair memory and hinder your talking ability.

The most alarming sign of alcohol addiction is the change in your behaviour. Alcohol has the ability to travel easily inside your body. Hence it can easily enter in your body parts very quickly which include the nervous system as well. It will cause serious problems such as difficulty in speech, harder to talk and telltale sign when you have a lot of drink. Additionally it also affects coordination, interfere with ability to walk and balance.

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Too much drinking is clearly a sign of trouble because it hinder your impulse control and ability to form special memories. In case pf long term alcohol addiction it will shrink frontal lobes of brain. The acute alcoholic withdrawal leads to delirium and seizures. While severe alcoholism can lead to permanent brain damage a condition known as dementia.

The damage in the nervous system result in numbness, pain and abnormal sensation in your hands and feet. The alcoholism can cause involuntary rapid eye movement, paralysis of eye muscles and weakness due to the deficiency of thiamine a vitamin B.

The alcohol metabolism is altogether different in both men and women. Alcohol affect more to women than men.

It is common observation that a heavily drinker soon become dependent on alcohol both physically and emotionally. To control alcohol addition is very difficult. Just like other addiction alcohol addiction is also a life threatening. In case of acute alcohol addiction you always need a medical detoxification.

When alcoholic stops drinking they must experience the following symptoms:

  • Severe nausea
  • A condition of anxiety
  • Uneven nervousness
  • Tremoring of hands and feet

In some cases it can also lead to confusion, such as delirium tremens (hallucinations) and seizure as well. Detoxification can be done in between 2 to 7 days.

Those individuals who have recently in take alcohol may experience the following:

  • Delay in the response or reaction time
  • Poor or reduced coordination
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing issues
  • Problems while driving a car

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The other affects due to drinking may also include depression, interruptions, and feelings of panic and anxiety which also lead to suicidal tendencies. While long term alcohol addiction also leads to dementia, neuropathy and some serious issues known as korsakoffs psychosis and Wernicke’s encephalopathy.

How Greatly Will Alcoholism Affect the Brain?

The major issue arises in the mind of most of the people is that how much it affects the brain? But one thing is clear that alcoholism affects every individual and affects differently.

There are some indicators which a person must experience as the negative effects of alcohol on your brain.

  • If you are drinking most often
  • Heavy drink in each session
  • Taking first drink at the young age
  • Drinking heavily for years
  • Poor health
  • Having a family history related to alcohol
  • Having parental alcohol history

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Alcohol’s action in the brain

The noticeable effects on the brain are due to alcoholic action on the central nervous system. To understand completely that how alcohol affects your brain you must know little bit about the working of brain. The brain control all the acts which tells your heart to beat, stomach to digest, sleep, lungs to breath, mood and concentration. To perform all these activities your brain send chemicals called neurotransmitters to the site where action is needed to perform.

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Two kinds of neurotransmitters are used to perform all this:


These are known to excite or stimulate the brain and help in increasing the response of the nerve cells. The response of these neurotransmitters perform actions and reactions in your body.


These are known to initiate the sedative and calm effects on your body by decreasing response of nerve cells.

Alcohol has the ability to depress nervous system. It normally act on brain by reducing the normal effects of your excitatory neurotransmitters and in return increase the effects of inhibitory neurotransmitters and thus alter the complete balance of your nervous system.  This is just because complete balance of the body depends on the coordination of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters, so when this balance is lost then complete functions of the body is lost. This balance lost is the result of the side effects of heavy drinking.

Effects of alcohol on Brain

Always remember that excitatory neurotransmitters are known to stimulate the brain and then create the actions. In case of heavy alcohol drinking you these transmitters are reduced and cause visual problems.

  • Having memory problems
  • Feels difficult in thinking and concentration
  • Difficult in response
  • You don’t remember what and when happened known as blackouts
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Changes in the emotions and swinging in the mood

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As mentioned above that inhibitory transmitters functions to sedate and calm down your brain. In case when these are increased you can easily see alcohol induced effects.

All of these effects reduced as the alcohol is processed and then removed from body. But keep in mind that some effects of alcohol predominate so much that they can’t be reversed. With the growing age and time you develop tolerance against the alcohol such as you need to drink more alcohol to produce the same effects as you were feeling with little intake of alcohol.

During study you can easily feel the effects of alcohol on your brain. It is commonly said that the brain has the ability to inhibit the lower parts of your central nervous system. Humans are superior to animals as we act individually.

The long term alcohol addiction can cause the damage to nerve cells, weakness, memory loss and difficulty in walking as well.

As you take the first sip of alcohol you must get the sense of euphoria, soon after that he alcohol disrupt the abilities which distinguish us from the animals. These include the impairment of thinking and association. Difficulty in thinking overall judgment is lost this is because the drinking is prohibited during drive, such as the alcohol can make you feel overconfident. In simple words we can say that human qualities are lost and you will behave like an animal. In most of the cases middle part of your brain is lost and it is taken over by the emotional brain. While having a drink the person usually want to hit the person instead of pursuing him or her through words. People usually loose shyness and become confident so that they want to do anything by their own and they are unaware of the acts that they are wrong. The large part of your brain is numbed due to alcohol abuse and hence its functions are taken over by the middle brain.

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Alcohol gives an additional sense of confidence because of the suppression cause in the nerves. This is because people are less conscious and hence confidence built up.  Alcohol also affects the functioning of other body parts as well such as speech. Your tongue find difficulty in finding appropriate words for delivering specific sentence. Due to loss of nervous coordination over all body language disrupted and walking become impaired. Other functionality due to loss of nervous coordination are walking, thinking and talking. The nervous coordination is necessary to control overall body’s ability to function properly. At the advance level if a person drinks regularly then he may die due to poor coordination of brain with other body parts. The brain loses the control over body and become unable to control body when it loses consciousness.

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Treatment and Prevention against alcohol addiction

Although it is life threatening but it can be easily cured by avoiding places where it is easily available and by visiting a hospital for a week or two. This will definitely give benefit to you if you want to get rid of it. Alcohol addiction is not contagious but you need to avoid places and bars so that you might not get affected by the harmful effects of alcohol. Use those medicine which will help to rebuilt your consciousness and initiate your nervous system so that it can work properly. Medications may be used to get out of harmful effects of alcohol on the nervous system.

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Use those medicines which will assist you neurotransmitters and release all the hurdles which are causing improper functioning of these transmitters. But avoid those medication which make you unconscious because consciousness is very important in fighting against alcohol. Visit those societies which are working against the alcoholism and aware you about the harmful effects of alcohol and make you firm to fight against the alcohol. Additionally if you get awareness against alcoholism then tell your parents and friends also about the harmful effects of alcohol so that they also get rid of it.

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