If you drink regularly, you should be asking yourself: How does alcohol affect my health? Studies show that around 85% of those who are of legal drinking age have consumed alcohol at least a few times throughout their life. Unfortunately, it is socially acceptable to abuse alcohol and there are younger and younger children doing it now, too. When children or anyone under the age of 25 starts drinking regularly, it can cause significant damage to their brain and central nervous system. Learning about the possible issues early on might help to steer some kids and even adults away from abusing or even using alcohol.
If you or someone you know is already struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, our Journey Pure Recovery Center team wants to help you overcome it.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Central Nervous System?
The central nervous system is a term that describes a connected network of nerve cells involving the spinal cord and brain. This network provides a person’s body with the ability to perform the most basic mental and physical functions. In addition, the CNS (central nervous system) is the main base for all the nerve activities throughout your body. It uses two main components – specialized nerve cells (neurons) and specialized chemicals (neurotransmitters).
The neurons and neurotransmitters have a very active relationship with one another. Every neuron creates a link in the body’s central nervous system. However, in order to create this link, it must use dozens of neurotransmitters that send messages back and forth.
When someone abuses alcohol, the alcohol causes an interruption to the brain and central nervous system. This can create short and long-term effects on the body and brain. If you or someone you know is needing alcohol addiction treatment today, reach out to our Journey Pure Recovery Center team.
Core Effects of Alcohol Use on the Brain and Central Nervous System
Alcohol is considered to be a central nervous system depressant. When someone uses even the smallest amount of alcohol, the number of neurotransmitters in their brain that slow down neuron communications are increased. When this happens, there is less brain activity and more confusion. The reason for this is that messages can’t be delivered as clearly or quickly.
Some of the core effects of alcohol use on the brain and central nervous system include:
- Visual impairments
- Slurred speech
- Slower muscle reactions
- Disruptions in memory
- Declining body coordination
- Increased confusion
- Not able to think logically or clearly
There are numerous factors that are going to affect the severity of these alcohol effects. Some of these factors include:
- The volume of alcohol the person consumed
- How quickly they consumed the alcohol
- How often they drink
- Amount of food someone has in their stomach
- Weight and size of the consumer
- Sex of the consumer
- The genetic makeup of the consumer
- Details of the consumer’s mental and physical health
Now that you have a better idea of how alcohol impacts the CNS and what factors cause the range in severity, you can better realize how damaging alcohol is on the brain and central nervous system.
Short-Term Damage Alcohol Has on the Nervous System
As noted above, there is some short-term damage that is done to the brain and central nervous system. When someone drinks a lot of alcohol in a short period of time, some of the effects this can have on their body, brain and nervous system include:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Irregular/slowed breathing
- Complete breathing cessation
- Heart stops
- Irregular heartbeat
- Seizures from lack of blood sugar
- Uncontrolled vomiting (could choke on vomit)
- Low body temperature
- Extreme dehydration
- Onset of coma
If you are a binge or heavy drinker, the chances that you are going to experience these effects are much higher. In addition, children or people who are underweight, are much more likely to experience the effects just noted above, as well.
Long-Term Damage Alcohol Has on the Nervous System
Are you or someone you know a long-term alcoholic? If so, it is important to know that there are plenty of ways that alcohol is damaging your brain and central nervous system. The longer and more you continue to drink, the more effects that can occur, as well.
Some of these long-term damaging effects that alcohol can have on your brain and central nervous system include:
- Pain in the lower and upper extremities (often in the feet)
- Varied degrees of tingling and numbness throughout the extremities
- Impotence in males
- Cramping, aching, weakness, and spasms in the muscles
- Altered ability to swallow or talk
- Urination and/or bladder issues
- Abnormal bowel issues (usually constipation or diarrhea)
- Inability to handle high temperatures
- Wernicke encephalopathy
These health issues generally happen over time. However, if you can cut down or completely stop drinking, some of these issues may be reversed. The sooner you make the decision to get sober, the better chances you will have of reversing some of these effects.
Avoiding Severe Health Issues Caused by Alcohol Consumption
The number one way to avoid severe health issues caused by alcohol consumption is to not drink at all. Unfortunately, if you are already a drinker – whether you are an alcoholic or not – it can be tough to quit drinking completely, especially if you are trying to do so by yourself.
The good news is that our Journey Pure Recovery Center team is here to help anyone overcome alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction issues. We also have co-occurring disorder treatments for those who are struggling with alcoholism and a mental health disorder such as PTSD.
You or Your Loved One Can Get Sober. We Can Help.
Are you struggling with alcohol abuse or an addiction to alcohol? If so, it is time to stop the damage alcohol is doing to your brain and central nervous system. Contact us today, here at Journey Pure, to get the alcohol abuse or addiction treatment you need right away.
- years in the field