Alcohol – takes your sorrows away sometimes, but gives you more. According to studies, having a glass or two of red wine improves the health of your heart. However, when you drink so much regularly, the results can be debilitating.
It is recommended that women enjoy at least one drink per day while men should have two per day. However, what this does not mean is that you can stay away from alcohol a whole week only to down seven shots on weekends.
You see, alcohol dependency and binge drinking affects the brain and can ultimately be more damaging than you would think.
In 2016, three million deaths were as a result of alcohol. It was also leading risk factor for disability and premature death among people of 15 to forty-nine years of age. That means, alcohol is one the major catalysts for chronic health problems like stroke, liver cancer, heart disease and lots of other disorders associated with the brain.
In order to clearly understand how it is that alcohol is able to affect your brain, we have done our research. It’s therefore important that you stayed glued to this page to pick up a few things you didn’t know about alcohol.
Damaging Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
It’s linked to depression.
The exhilaration you get from alcohol will not last. A review in the journal Addiction says that regular drinking has been found to be associated with depression. This analysis showed that the presence of either alcohol use or major depression doubled the risks of the other disorder
So, alcohol use disorder skews the risk of major depression. A glass won’t always take away your sorrows.
Your brain shrinks.
In clearer terms, your brain gets smaller the more you drink. A study reviewed MRI scans of over a thousand people between the ages of thirty-four and eighty-eight who did not take alcohol, used to drink or don’t drink so much, moderate drinkers and high drinkers.
At the end of the review, it was seen that the brain volume typically reduced when you take more alcohol.
On average, for every increase in drinking category (for example, low drinkers to moderate drinkers), brain volume decreased by 0.25 percent.
Individuals that more than fourteen drinks every weeks had an average of 1.6 percent reduction in brain volume.
It’s being said though that this damage is reversible. A German study found that abstaining alcohol for three weeks had a significant impact on the participants brain tissue density. This reversibility though, is mostly dependent on the individual’s age.
You’ll have slower movements.
A British journal says that ingesting alcohol results in a sluggishness in physical moments and thoughts. This is known as psychomotor impairment. The findings say that motor speed and general alertness, along with a dual-task secondary reaction time deteriorated with increasing ingestion of alcohol.
It can lead to alcohol dependence.
If a child starts drinking at the age of thirteen, they have a thirty-eight percent higher risk of being dependent on alcohol later in life.
This is because the brains of teenagers are wired differently – they’re typically more action and emotion oriented because the areas responsible for planning and inhibition are not developed yet.
A study in alcoholism found that thirty-three percent of people who started drinking at seventeen or younger, reported experiencing alcohol dependency at a point in their lives. People who start drinking at seventeen are close to four times more likely to experience alcohol dependency than the ones who begin at an older age.
One interesting perspective is that people who are at high genetic risk for AD begin drinking earlier for the same reasons that they develop AD.
For instance, they may be more impulsive, prone to greater risk-taking, have a harder time controlling their behavior, and so on . Since delaying AOD (age at onset of drinking) by itself wouldn’t change these other factors, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to reduced AD.
Your brain ages rapidly.
Your brain may celebrate birthdays a lot faster than you are if you take so much alcohol. In the largest brain imaging study to date, scientists evaluated brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 people ranging from as young as nine months old to 105-year-olds.
The results showed that abusing alcohol caused the brain to age by 0.6 years in 7.2 months. There are a few other common disorders and habits that have also been associated with brain aging. They include bipolar disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia and cannabis abuse.
Funny story, some of these factors are sometimes as a result of the damaging effects of taking alcohol so much.
It leads to a lack of problem-solving skill
Researchers have taken time to explore how the frontal lobe of the brain functions in people that are chronically alcoholic. Their findings were later published in Psychiatric Research.
The results revealed that individuals who took so much alcohol had the highest Inefficient Sorting scores. What this means is that alcoholics will often be unable to find a theme when it comes to problem-solving.
You become easily distracted.
Well, it’s no surprise that alcohol increases your vulnerability to distraction. So the next time your pal decides to lay a heavy story over some beers, just blame your lack of focus on science.
One study in Biological Psychiatry found that alcoholics suffered from lower P3a, an index of attention. Alcohol, apparently ruined their ability to focus on a thing while being able to simultaneously ignore all the distracting extraneous information.
Another study found that the P3a was infact suppressed by alcohol, even with the lowest 0.3-gram-per-kilogram alcohol use. These realisations reveal that the tiniest amount of alcohol will ultimately lead to an involuntary attention shifting.
It causes increased aggression.
Most people’s personality quirks are exaggerated after a couple of cosmos—and aggression is no exception.
Even though not everyone is a victim of getting aggressive under influence, a research suggests that individuals who had an Antisocial Personality Disorder were more prone to aggression related with alcohol, than people who did not have this disorder.
Researchers say that it is as a result of the brain chemicals getting altered by the booze, that is including serotonin and Gaminobutyric acid, both associated with aggressive behaviour.