Alcohol consumption can trigger modifications in the architecture and operation of the growing brain, which continues to develop into an individual's mid 20s, and it may have repercussions reaching far beyond teenage years.
In adolescence, brain growth is defined by dramatic changes to the brain's structure, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These changes in the brain affect everything from developing sexuality to emotions and judgment.
Not all portions of the adolescent brain mature concurrently, which may put a youth at a disadvantage in certain situations. The limbic areas of the brain mature earlier than the frontal lobes. The limbic regions control emotions and are connected with a juvenile's decreased level of sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are accountable for self-control, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Variations in maturation amongst parts of the brain can result in rash decisions or acts and a disregard for consequences.
The way Alcohol Alters the Brain Alcohol affects an adolescent's brain growth in numerous ways. The effects of juvenile alcohol consumption on specific brain activities are detailed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, initially, it suppresses the part of the human brain that regulates inhibitions.
CEREBRAL CORTEX-- alcohol impedes the cortex as it works with details from a person'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 spinal cord-- sends out a signal to that portion of the physical body. Alcohol impedes the central nervous system, making the person think, speak, and move less quickly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The human brain's frontal lobes are very important for organizing, forming concepts, decision making, and exercising self-control.
An individual may find it tough to manage his or her emotions and urges once alcohol impacts the frontal lobes of the brain. The individual might act without thinking or may even become violent. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time can harm the frontal lobes permanently.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain in which memories are generated. Once alcohol reaches the hippocampus, a person might have difficulty remembering something she or he just learned, such as a name or a telephone number. This can happen after just one or two drinks. drinking a lot of alcohol rapidly can trigger a blackout-- not having the ability to recollect entire occurrences, such as what exactly he or she did the night before. A person may find it difficult to learn and to hold on to information if alcohol damages the hippocampus.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, ideas, and focus. When alcohol goes into the cerebellum, a person might have difficulty with these abilities. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands might be so shaky that they can't touch or take hold of things normally, and they may lose their equilibrium and tumble.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does an incredible variety of the physical body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the operation of the hypothalamus. After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, thirst, and the impulse to urinate intensify while body temperature and heart rate decline.
Alcohol in fact cools down the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger a person's body temperature level to drop below normal.
A person might have trouble with these abilities when alcohol enters the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands may be so unsteady that they cannot touch or get hold of things properly, and they may lose their equilibrium and fall.
After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the desire to urinate increase while physical body temperature and heart rate decrease.
Alcohol actually cools down the physical body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather can trigger an individual's body temperature to drop below normal.