Harmful Effects of Alcohol on the Brain & Overall Health

November 19, 2021

Generally, drinking alcohol in moderation is not dangerous to adults except when a person has health issues or possible complications associated with alcohol consumption. People love to drink alcohol, and the importance of alcohol manifest’s in various cultures and for different reasons. Humans have been consuming alcohol for more than 1000 decades, and despite various alcohol effects in one’s body and mind, there are still a plethora of motivations as to why people still continually drink and consume it.

Whether people are celebratory or feeling dejected, alcohol is there. Alcohol in certain cultures is deeply-inculcated in their way of life, so much so that a meal is not a meal without a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. Sometimes, geographical reasons such as extreme cold conditions are best combated with a glass of spirit. Unfortunately, when consumption of these beverages is not in moderation, there can be severe implications to one’s health, and ultimately, possible negative effects of alcohol on one’s life.

What Makes A Person Alcoholic

When one drinks alcohol, the release of dopamine is increased thanks to the ethanol found in these alcoholic beverages. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in controlling feelings of pleasure and reward. This, in turn, creates a form of motivated behavior, thus making a person want to consume more of whatever it is that helps make them feel more of that pleasant or gratifying emotion.

Since the release of neurotransmitters is increased, this makes you want to drink more. However, with this repetitive behavior, dopamine connections are remodeled with a tendency to lower the number of receptors that assist the binding of these neurotransmitters. This change occurring inside your brain, in turn, makes you alcohol dependent.

When a person manifests the symptoms of severe alcohol dependence, you crave alcohol and have that urge or need to drink. Sometimes, when you start drinking, you lose control and experience difficulty in stopping. Your mood can be negatively impacted when you are unable to drink.

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Long Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Brain

When you drink too much, there are long-term effects of alcohol on the brain and body. Here are some of the alcohol withdrawal effects of being too dependent on booze:


The digestive enzymes produced by your pancreas may be abnormally activated, and once there is a buildup of these enzymes, a pancreatic inflammation called pancreatitis can happen. This condition can cause dangerous complications to one’s health.

Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia

When the function of your pancreas is affected by too much alcohol consumption, your body’s insulin and glucose levels are not regulated well. There is a risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels and hyperglycemia or too much sugar in the blood due to damaged pancreas and liver.

Liver Cirrhosis

One of the crucial tasks of the liver is to help break down harmful substances in the body and remove them. This includes alcohol. However, severe alcohol dependence can interfere with this bodily function and cause inflammation of the liver. This inflammatory damage can result in scarring of the liver called liver cirrhosis. This scarring gradually destroys the liver and results in more and more difficulty in removing toxic or harmful substances from inside your body.

Frontal Lobe Damage

The effects of alcohol on the central nervous system include slurred speech, lack of balance, numbness on your hands and feet, and so on. However, over a long period of alcohol dependence, one of the alcohol effects harmful to the brain is frontal lobe damage and the inability to create long-term memories. The frontal lobe is the part of your brain responsible for your short-term memory, emotional control, and judgment.

Alcohol Effects On The Brain

People who have suffered from alcohol dependence have noted problems specific to memory loss or slower thinking. While consuming booze, you may feel difficulty remembering information. Sometimes, people experience a total blackout, and they cannot remember the events or conversations prior to getting drunk.

Alcohol blocks the chemical signals between neurons in the brain, resulting in less inhibition and impulsive behavior, poor memory, slurred speech, and slower physical reflexes. The longer or more often you consume alcohol, the more prolonged the brain’s exposure to blocked signals. Then, your brain adapts to it and responds by over-activating your neurotransmitters.

Once alcohol leaves your system, the overactivation of neurotransmitters can be potentially dangerous and result in withdrawal syndromes and eventually cause brain damage.

How Long Do Alcohol Poisoning Last

Alcohol poisoning is not just intoxication or a state of drunkenness, but it occurs when a person consumes a toxic amount of alcohol within a short period of time. This is sometimes called binge drinking, and it is extremely dangerous and life-threatening. But how long does it last? Well, it depends the duration of alcohol poisoning varies from person to person based on different criteria such as age, sex, weight, metabolism, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the strength of the alcohol consumed.

man laying on grass with bottle of alcohol

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Alcoholism Treatment

Drinking alcohol in moderation is okay. However, your body may start to crave for it, and you may develop alcohol dependence. Unfortunately, stopping one’s self from drinking is not a straight path. Alcohol withdrawal is an equally mighty opponent in the same manner as alcohol dependence.

This is why institutions like Buena Vista Health and Recovery Center offer recovery facilities and programs to help those suffering from alcohol use disorder and alcohol withdrawal. We will help you find the best treatment and recovery plan that suits your personality and lifestyle. We have the best place for you to recover from alcoholism in Arizona. We are proud to share that we’ve helped many people get better and be better. Our mission is to guide you on your journey to recovery. We’ve helped people fight their way to sobriety. Contact us now at 866-630-9392 and get started.

Drinking alcohol, just like any other consumption, is okay as long as it is done in moderation. Although different countries and cultures believe that alcohol is important, it is crucial to understand why people tend to become alcohol dependent. The brain adapts differently when there is alcohol in a person’s system; that is why it is also necessary to know its long-term effects on the brain and body and how to treat alcohol dependence and alcohol poisoning.