Alcohol is used by many as a way to alter their thinking. This alteration can make them a bit more cheerful, lift their spirits, and help them forget their trouble. In small doses and with occasional use, ingesting the toxin known as alcohol is not dangerous. However, alcohol is a depressant that can damage your brain. Additionally, alcohol can lead to liver damage, which can expose your brain to toxins left in the blood by your inefficient liver.
Alcohol-related brain damage generally takes time to show up. However, the damage done by binge drinking can actually show up rapidly in cognitive testing. When you drink alcohol, it passes through your stomach into your intestines where it’s absorbed into your blood. Your liver tries to clean your blood of alcohol, but when it gets overloaded the excess remains in your blood system and impacts other organs, including your brain.
Impact of Alcohol on the Brain
Alcohol down the transmittal of electronic impulses in the brain. This may make it harder for you to worry about a particular issue, leading you to a temporary sense of happiness. Additionally, alcohol adds to your dopamine level, causing you to feel cheery. You may have a warm regard for everyone around you. You may also suffer from slurred speech and struggle to retain memories of what happened while you were drinking.
Over time, you can develop a form of dementia known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This condition occurs after an extended period of excessive drinking. Many people who have consumed excessive alcohol for years lose the ability to absorb nutrients such as thiamine. Encephalopathy, or “wet brain”, can lead to severe memory issues, as well as problems with balance and neurological control of your limbs.
Short-term binge drinking can cause the liver and brain to shut down and may lead to death. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can also badly damage much of the body, including the liver and the brain. It’s important to note that a damaged liver can add to the brain damage done by alcohol.
Once your liver has been scarred or damaged by excess alcohol intake, it simply can’t filter out impurities anymore. Once this happens, those toxins will continue to travel through the blood, causing severe problems wherever they land. Hepatic (of the liver) encephalopathy (brain damage) is such a condition. Those who suffer from hepatic encephalopathy show troubling symptoms such as confusion, poor decision making and subsequent behavioral changes, and a hand flapping known as asterixis. Anxiety and depression are also common side effects of a liver that can no longer function.
Reliance on the Toxin
It’s important to remember that alcohol is a toxin. The reactions from over-imbibing in alcohol, such as the inability to function safely, make good decision or speak clearly, are actually signs that your brain is in a form of crisis. Neurons that normally function cannot work as they should. In small doses and in a safe environment, the process of drinking alcohol is a manageable risk.
However, too many people who drink regularly take themselves out of safe environments and put themselves at risk. Worse, drinking to excess can lead to blackout conditions. If we wake up after a night of drinking and don’t know what you did, your brain was severely stressed. Your other organs are also at risk. Finally, you may have put yourself in a desperately dangerous situation, but because your neurons weren’t functioning normally, you weren’t able to think of a way out of that risky environment.
If you are struggling with a drinking habit or desire that you can’t manage, it’s critical that you seek help. No matter how long you’ve been drinking, it’s not a good idea to stop “cold turkey” without someone to monitor you. Your body may have become accustomed to the toxin. Denying your cells of alcohol may actually be dangerous depending on the time you’ve been drinking and the amount you’re used to imbibing.
Contact us at 844-639-8371 for guidance on finding a safe place to detox and a way to build a life that increases, rather than risks, your safety. You deserve a good quality of life that increases your chance for long-term health.