How Does Alcoholism Affect The Brain

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ALCOHOLISM AND THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM Christina Ocasio Rasmussen College Ocala, Florida Alcoholism affects many systems in our body. Many people focus on the damage to the liver but I believe that the effect of Alcoholism on the brain in the central nervous system is the greatest threat. My first concern is the correlation of brain shrinkage with the frontal cortex which is much greater than normal age –related shrinkage. Secondly, Alcoholism causes neurological damage and memory loss. Alcohol dementia affects the quality of life for the individual especially as he ages. Thirdly up to 80 percent of alcoholics have a deficiency in thiamine which greatly affects the cerebellum (the area of the brain responsible for coordinating…show more content…
Some effects are short term like difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slow reaction times and impaired memory. A person who gets drunk occasionally may show these symptoms which will cease rather soon after stopping drinking. However the alcoholic faces some debilitating conditions that require lifelong custodial care. Blackouts can occur where the individual cannot remember anything for a period of time even when they participated in potentially dangerous events like vandalism, unprotected sex and driving. Women are more likely to have a blackout possibly because men and women metabolize alcohol differently. Women are also more likely than men to suffer medical consequences of alcohol use. That does not mean that the alcoholic man will not experience these consequences but it will probably take twice as long as women to appear. Up to eighty percent of alcoholics have a deficiency in thiamine which is usually a result of poor nutrition. Some of these will develop serious brain disorders like Wernicke-Korsakoll Syndrome (WKS). WKS has two separate syndromes. One is short lived and severe called Wernicke’s encephalopathy. The symptoms are mental confusion, paralysis of the nerves that move the eyes and difficult muscular coordination. About eighty to ninety percent of alcoholics with Wernicke’s encephalopathy will develop Korsakoff’s psychosis which is chronic and debilitating.…show more content…
Alcohol stamps down signals between the spinal cord, nerve system, and the brain. The nerve tissues will become totally numb when in the state of “drunkenness”. Cells become semipermeable (thicker) in alcoholics. Tolerance capacity is not stable because they are ever changing. This also makes the alcoholic prone to infections. An alcoholic may develop panic attacks, anxiety, body tremors and sleep disorders. They could also experience hallucinations. Alcohol gets dissolved in lipids and other water solutions which increases activities of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. It also increases the effects on production of beta-endorphins. Alcoholism can lead to depression, anti-social behavior, psychosis and delusions. Liver damage to the alcoholic also affects the brain by allowing too much toxic substances (mainly ammonia and manganese) to travel to the brain. This causes a potentially fatal brain disorder called hepatic encephalopathy. As stated before, I believe that the effect of alcoholism on the brain in the central nervous system is the greatest threat. There are serious consequences to the alcoholic from all the systems in the body but the effect on the brain affect more people that the alcoholic alone. I know that from being in a family where a member suffers from alcoholism that the family dynamic changes. An alcoholic is secretive about their alcohol use

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