Alcohol consumption can cause modifications in the architecture and operation of the developing brain, which continues to grow into an individual's mid 20s, and it might have repercussions reaching far beyond teenage years.
In adolescence, brain growth is characterized by remarkable changes to the brain's structure, neuron connectivity ("circuitry"), and physiology. These transformations in the brain alter everything from emerging sexuality to emotions and cognitive ability.
Not all parts of the juvenile brain mature at the same time, which might put an adolescent at a disadvantage in particular situations. For example, the limbic areas of the brain mature quicker than the frontal lobes. The limbic areas control feelings and are connected with an adolescent's reduced sensitivity to risk. The frontal lobes are responsible for self-regulation, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can lead to impulsive choices or acts and a neglect for consequences.
The way Alcohol Disturbs the Brain Alcohol disturbs an adolescent's brain growth in many ways. The effects of minor alcohol consumption on particular brain activities are discussed below. Alcohol is a central nervous system sedative. Alcohol can appear to be a stimulant because, to begin with, it suppresses the part of the human brain that governs inhibitions.
CEREBRAL CORTEX-- Alcohol reduces the cortex as it works with information from an individual's senses.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM-- When a person thinks about something he desires his body to do, the central nervous system-- the brain and the spine-- sends out a signal to that part of the physical body. Alcohol hinders the central nervous system, making the individual think, converse, and move more slowly.
FRONTAL LOBES -- The brain's frontal lobes are essential for organizing, forming ideas, decision making, and using self-control.
Once alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain, an individual may find it tough to control his/her feelings and impulses. The individual may act without thinking or may even become violent. Consuming alcohol over a long period of time can injure the frontal lobes forever.
HIPPOCAMPUS-- The hippocampus is the part of the brain in which memories are generated. When alcohol gets to the hippocampus, an individual might have trouble recollecting a thing he or she just learned, such as a person's name or a phone number. This can occur after just one or two alcoholic beverages. drinking a great deal of alcohol quickly can cause a blackout-- not having the ability to recall whole happenings, such as what exactly he or she did the night before. A person might find it difficult to learn and to hold on to knowledge if alcohol injures the hippocampus.
CEREBELLUM-- The cerebellum is very important for coordination, to form thoughts, and attention. When alcohol gets in the cerebellum, a person may have trouble with these skills. After drinking alcohol, a person's hands may be so unsteady that they cannot touch or grab things normally, and they might fail to keep their balance and fall.
HYPOTHALAMUS-- The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain that does a remarkable variety of the body's housekeeping chores. Alcohol frustrates the work of the hypothalamus. After an individual drinks alcohol, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the impulse to urinate increase while body temperature and heart rate decline.
MEDULLA-- The medulla controls the physical body's automatic actions, like a person's heartbeat. It also keeps the body at the right temperature level. Alcohol really chills the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol outdoors in chilly weather can trigger an individual's body temperature to fall below normal. This unsafe situation is termed hypothermia.
A person may have difficulty with these skills once alcohol goes into the cerebellum. After consuming alcohol, a person's hands may be so tremulous that they cannot touch or grab things properly, and they may lose their balance and tumble.
After a person drinks alcohol, blood pressure, appetite, being thirsty, and the urge to urinate increase while body temperature levels and heart rate decline.
Alcohol actually chills the body. Consuming a lot of alcohol outdoors in cold weather conditions can trigger a person's body temperature to drop below normal.
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