Alcohol can trigger alterations in the architecture and operation of the growing brain, which continues to grow into an individual's mid 20s, and it might have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.

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

Not all parts of the adolescent brain mature concurrently, which may put a youth at a disadvantage in specific circumstances. For example, the limbic areas of the brain mature quicker than the frontal lobes. The limbic regions control feelings and are related to an adolescent's decreased 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 lead to rash choices or acts and a disregard for repercussions.


early signs of alcoholism

How Alcohol Affects the Human Brain

Alcohol disturbs a juvenile's brain development in numerous ways. The effects of minor alcohol consumption on specific brain activities are explained below.

Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, before anything else, it depresses the part of the human brain that controls inhibitions.

CEREBRAL CORTEX-- Alcohol reduces the cortex as it works with information from an individual's senses.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When an individual thinks of something he wants 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 reduces the central nervous system, making the person think, speak, and move less quickly.

FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are very important for advanced planning, forming concepts, decision making, and exercising self-control.

An individual might find it hard to control his or her feelings and urges when alcohol impairs the frontal lobes of the brain. The person might act without thinking or might even become violent. Consuming alcohol over a long period of time can damage the frontal lobes permanently.

HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the portion of the brain where memories are created.

When alcohol reaches the hippocampus, a person may have difficulty recalling something he or she just learned, such as a name or a phone number. This can take place after just a couple of drinks.

Drinking a great deal of alcohol rapidly can trigger a blackout-- not having the ability to remember entire occurrences, such as what exactly he or she did last night.

If alcohol injures the hippocampus, a person may find it tough to learn and to hang on to information.

CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, ideas, and attention. An individual might have trouble with these skills when alcohol enters the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, an individual's hands might be so unsteady that they cannot touch or take hold of things properly, and they might lose their equilibrium and fall.

HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does an incredible variety of the physical body's housekeeping tasks. Alcohol upsets the work of the hypothalamus. After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the impulse to urinate intensify while body temperature level and heart rate decrease.

Alcohol in fact chills the physical body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can cause a person's body temperature to fall below normal.

A person may have trouble with these skills when alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands might be so unsteady that they can't touch or take hold of things properly, and they may lose their balance and tumble.


After an individual alcoholic beverages alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.

Alcohol in fact chills the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can cause a person's body temperature level to fall below normal.