When you think of a drunk person, you likely imagine the stereotype in your head. This is often a person who doesn’t have the ability to walk straight and slurs his or her speech. However, these are just a couple of the effects of drinking too much. Just how does alcohol affect the brain?
Drinking Affects People Differently
There are plenty of charts that tell you — from a clinical point of view — how much is too much. But some people feel the effects of alcohol after just half a beer. Others can drink two beers and barely register any effects. For some, this has to do with a buildup of tolerance.
For others, it may be a genetic ability to process alcohol better. Nevertheless, everyone will eventually feel the effects of this drug. So, how does alcohol affect the brain? More importantly, can you undo some of the effects over time?
How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain in the Short and Long Term?
One of the short-term effects of consuming too much alcohol is the inability to maintain your balance. If you quit drinking and allow the body to metabolize the drug that’s in your system, you’ll regain your balance. The same goes for slurring speech, which is another sign of drunkenness. But there are more severe outcomes, too.
Cases in point are blackouts and missing memories. These can occur after a binge. What characterizes this consumption pattern is the speed with which you ingest larger than normal quantities of alcohol. Because you drink faster than your body can metabolize the drug, you suffer this effect.
It can lead to a loss of some memories or a complete absence of event recall. You may wake up in a location you don’t remember going to. Worse, you may wake up at a hospital or police station after an accident.
Long-term heavy drinkers will eventually suffer from brain shrinkage. This condition directly affects your ability to process information and learn new data. Women are more susceptible to this disease than men are even after consuming less alcohol over shorter periods. It may not be possible to reverse or improve this situation.
Perhaps the most devastating effect on the brain is the development of Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome. This condition develops after long-term alcohol abuse. Mental confusion may become so severe that individuals require full-time care. For some, this means institutional living.
Overcoming an Alcohol Use Disorder
There’s a way out. If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, you’re familiar with cravings and the inability to quit after one drink. Start by ending your physical dependence via a detoxification process at a medically managed facility. Next, there’s rehab with modalities such as:
- Individual therapy to talk through your alcohol abuse and its likely roots
- Psychotherapy, which gives you the tools to disarm triggers and the situations that signal you to drink
- Art therapy that allows you to express thoughts and feelings you might not be able to put into words
- 12 Step meetings that provide you with proven peer assistance for relapse prevention
- Family therapy, which can rebuild trust, mend broken relationships, and pave the way for your return home
Stop suffering today. Contact the compassionate therapists at Crestview Recovery by dialing 866.262.0531 now.