Alcohol affects the brain causing difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory: Some of these impairments are detectable after only one or two drinks and quickly resolve when drinking stops. On the other hand, a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain deficits that persist well after he or she achieves sobriety.
I do know that heavy drinking may have extensive and far–reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple “slips” in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care. A number of factors influence how and to what extent alcohol affects the brain includes
- how much and how often a person drinks;
- the age at which he or she first began drinking, and how long he or she has been drinking;
- the person’s age, level of education, gender, genetic background, and family history of alcoholism;
- whether he or she is at risk as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure; and
- his or her general health status.
Large quantities of alcohol, especially when consumed quickly and on an empty stomach, can produce a blackout, or an interval of time for which the intoxicated person cannot recall key details of events, or even entire events. Blackouts are much more common among social drinkers than previously assumed and should be viewed as a potential consequence of acute intoxication regardless of age or whether the drinker is clinically dependent on alcohol. A research was done and proved that regardless of the amount of alcohol consumption, females are at greater risk than males for experiencing blackouts. A woman’s tendency to black out more easily probably results from differences in how men and women metabolize alcohol. Females also may be more susceptible than males to milder forms of alcohol induced memory impairments, even when men and women consume comparable amounts of alcohol.People who have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain. Alcoholics are not all alike. They experience different degrees of impairment, and the disease has different origins for different people. Consequently, researchers have not found conclusive evidence that any one variable is solely responsible for the brain deficits found in alcoholics. Characterizing what makes some alcoholics vulnerable to brain damage whereas others are not remains the subject of active research. Most alcoholics with cognitive impairment show at least some improvement in brain structure and functioning within a year of abstinence, though some people take much longer.
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Tags: alcohol effects drinking and the brain