Have you ever wondered why we have a tendency to act irrationally when we’ve had too much to drink? What about why our society has become so adamant about punishing people who operate a motor vehicle after they reach a certain blood-alcohol level?
We do some crazy things when we’ve guzzled too much booze. Ever notice how it’s easier to talk to the opposite sex after a few belts? Have you ever heard of the saying, liquid courage? All of these things can be attributed to the effect alcohol has on brain activity and function.
You may not even appreciate that over time these effects can become like building blocks. The reasons why alcohol reduces brain activity and impairs function attribute to the clinical definition of wet brain. Let’s talk about why alcohol reduces your brain activity, plus why this can turn out to be a serious problem if you’re an alcoholic.
What’s the Science Behind the Buzz
Alcohol contains a water-soluble form of ethanol. When you drink, this chemical is transported throughout your body. It makes a stop at your digestive system and enters various cell membranes. It passes through your heart and eventually gets pumped upward into your brain.
The breakdown of alcohol into its water-soluble form is very fond of your brain. Science believes it is because of the euphoric effect it has through the release of dopamine. Alcohol works initially as a mild depressant on your nerve receptors.
This is why after a few drinks people tend to feel relaxed. However, like with most feel-good sensations there are limits. Some scientific research points to this being the problem in some brains that make us susceptible to becoming an alcoholic.
Our brains just crave too much of this good thing. The ethanol also attaches to neurotransmitters that are essential for normal neuron function. When ethanol binds to these important neurological points, it slows down brain activity.
Have you ever witnessed someone good and intoxicated who speaks like a vinyl record played at half-speed? Alcohol affects brain function across a wide-spectrum in much the same way. We move slower, process visual stimuli slower, plus every muscle in our body reacts slower.
These physical impairments are why some state law labels drunk-driving allegations as Driving While Impaired DWI. Alcohol gradually impairs your normal brain function with each subsequent drink.
Now, we’re a little deep into all-things scientific about alcohol’s effect on your brain. Do you know what happens when this flood of alcohol becomes like a tidal wave in your brain? Well, it’s not good.
This same process that makes you talk slower, walk slower, or feel wonderfully euphoric, can also slow down essential body processes by shutting down your brain. Alcohol does rate as a poison by definition, but it can poison the brain to a point where it starts to shut down life sustaining activity.
Average people, casual drinkers who would not classify as an alcoholic, recoil at the thought of being this impaired. It’s as if they were touching a hot stove. They learn from the experience.
We were burnt once, but not again. Not the alcoholic. Despite knowing that we may reach a point of dangerously unsafe mental impairment, we keep right on drinking. But, why can’t we just cut back and reduce the effects that alcohol has on our brain activity?
Why Does Our Brain Become Alcoholic?
It’s this mental obsession that develops in an alcoholic’s mind that leads them to places in life that they’d otherwise never end up. A bunch of scientific stuff continues to happen in the alcoholic brain the longer they continue to drink.
These little attacks on the brain’s neurotransmitters seem innocent enough for a while. However, the longer these attacks continue the worse the damage becomes. Eventually, this assault on neurological brain activity leads to serious damage.
Without a properly functioning brain, different organs begin to malfunction. Once your brain reaches a tipping point, rare are the chances that you will ever be able to rekindle that self-control over the drink. Alcoholics invariably cannot stop at one.
The brain has been conditioned to drink, and it thirsts for more as soon as one dose of ethanol hits our delicate little nerve endings. There becomes a point where situations such as wet brain and delirium tremens reach a dangerous point.
How we get to the point of being alcoholic really isn’t an important issue. The issue is that even science tells us that certain people have brains that will react the same way to alcohol every time we drink. Just like you can’t turn a pickle back into a cucumber, it’s virtually impossible to turn an alcoholic back into a contentious social drinker.
For most people, alcohol isn’t a bad thing. The alcoholic may look at these people and be baffled at how they can seemingly drink with impunity. If you cannot stop drinking when you start, or you frequently drink far more than you intended, you may have an alcohol problem.
The consequences of untreated alcoholism are serious, and they must be taken seriously. If you think you have a drinking problem, ask for help. The worst that will happen is you may find you’re just a problem drinker. However, if you prove to have alcoholism, it could save your life. Call us today at 844-639-8371.