By Kabir Chaudhary
Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol, if consumed heavily will affect our body and brain by bringing down the ability to think and do things sensibly. Alcohol is classified as a depressant but some people tend to drink it to be mentally relaxing. Therefore, it may act as a stimulant for them.
Different alcoholic drinks contain different amounts of alcohol content in them. They are as follows:
- Beer 2-6% alcohol
- Wine 8-20% alcohol
- Tequila 40% alcohol
- Rum more than 40% alcohol
- Brandy more than 40% alcohol
- Gin 40-47% alcohol
- Whiskey 40-50% alcohol
- Vodka 40-50% alcohol
Yeah. This is rocket science. I bet, you never thought of it.
How alcohol starts affecting our brain?
When we consume alcoholic beverages, it immediately starts to affect our brain. It begins to chemically alter our brain’s neurotransmitters which leads to difficulty in walking and blurred vision. We can witness rapid changes in our behaviour and it make us take irrational decisions.
Now see step-by-step process on how alcohol has an impact on our brain. Peeps, get your nerd mode on.
- When you are intoxicated with alcohol the first part of the brain affected is Nucleus Accumbens. It targets our neurotransmitters, which leads to release of chemicals like Dopamine and GABA. Dopamine, is a chemical which makes us ‘feel good’ which in turn makes the individual consume more alcohol. Alcohol also starts to increase the GABA production, which reduces our energy level and calms everything down. This makes the person stumble and makes him feel weak.
- It then targets our Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland. These control our food intake, hormone releases and sexual activity. Alcohol depresses our nerve cells in the hypothalamus which prompts sexual arousal but decrease our sexual performance. The person craves for more and more food. It also increases the feeling of thirst.
- Hippocampus, which is responsible for our memory. If we drink too much it causes memory blackouts and makes it difficult to form or retain a new memory.
- Cerebral cortex, controls our motor areas, sensory areas and association areas. When alcohol affects our sensory areas, it affects our thought processes and leads to poor judgement. It is also responsible for our motor areas. Alcohol numbs our sense which ultimately slows down our capability to process information that we get. Alcohol affects the association areas in such a way that it confuses the brain. It increases the emotions and can cause aggression for no reason.
- Then its effect leads to Cerebellum, which plays a vital role in motor control. Excess consumption of alcohol will definitely lead a person to lose his or her balance and coordination. It affects our centre of gravity because of which we are unable to stand and keep falling down.
- Finally, alcohol strikes the Medulla, the brainstem that connects the brain with the spinal cord. Medulla is cardio, respiratory, vasomotor and reflex centres. By acting on the medulla, alcohol induces sleepiness. It affects heart rate, body temperature, appetite and consciousness, which can life threatening for an individual who is drunk.
So that’s enough biology for you today. I hope I did manage to mess with your head without the alcohol. Next time you think of drinking alcohol think twice or thrice because it can be dangerous for you and the people around you.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.