Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chemical Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

Before getting into how alcohol affect the brain, here is how the brain works. It is the control center of the body, it controls all the systems of your body-- your muscular system, respiratory system, and finally the digestive system. The brain controls these functions by using a series of chemical, electrical, and physical signals from cell to cell. Within the cells, the electrical signals are used for transmission, where as between the cells chemical signals are used. The signals are called neurotransmitters.
When alcohol is introduced the normal neurotransmission maybe affected and effects all the parts of the brain. The cerebral cortex processes information from your senses, processes thoughts, initiates the majority of voluntary muscle movements and has some control over lower-order brain centers. When it comes to the cerebral cortex when the blood alcohol content increases the effects get more pronounced. Alcohol can effect the limbic system to where the person may experience some memory loss and may have exaggerated states of emotion. When alcohol affects the cerebellum, the muscle movements become uncoordinated. When it comes to the pituitary gland, alcohol depresses nerve centers in the pituitary gland that control sexual arousal and performance, with increased alcohol consumption, sexual desire increases, but sexual performance declines. Finally, when the alcohol affects the medulla a person will start to feel sleepy and with increased consumption can lead to unconsciousness. Therefore, alcohol's effect on the medulla can be fatal if it is excessive.

1 comment:

  1. Amy, I found this post very informative and interesting. My father is an alcoholic and he has a messed up nerve in his back that controls his leg and it is hard for him to walk normally. Sometimes his leg gets stiff and it is hard for him to move it. when he drinks his leg movement is worse and it is even harder for him to walk and control his mobility. The more he drinks the worse it gets.