Understanding the Effects of Alcohol on the Human Brain
The human brain is an incredibly complex organ and when able to function efficiently, it is capable of addressing a variety of advanced processes and functions. When its interior balance is influenced by external sources such as alcohol however, even the simplest function can become a challenge. When the brain is exposed consistently enough, long term damage can take place, which can drastically reduce the way in which the organ is able to operate.
Although the entire brain can be affected by the toxic properties of alcohol, studies have discovered that there are three particular regions that can react in a more severe way than others. These three parts are commonly associated with the symptoms of alcoholism, and if left untreated the potential for irreparable damage to occur can be far more substantial.
The three regions of the brain which are most affected by alcohol
The three parts that are often exposed to greater risk when consuming alcohol are:
- The right supermarginal gyrus – a thumb sized lobule within the brain that is tasked with producing and transmitting chemicals that are commonly associated with logical thought and rational reasoning
- The anterior cingulate cortex – a part of the brain which is directly connected via blood vessels to the nervous system, and as a result is one of the first regions that can denote the feeling of pain and discomfort
- The anterior insular – a newly discovered part of the brain that works in collaboration with the anterior cingulate cortex. When activated it can further amplify the effect of pain, and is commonly targeted by alcohol resulting in an increase to sensitivity
These three regions are responsible for their own activities and processes, but as they are often some of the first to experience damage as a result of chemical toxicity; it’s not uncommon for side effects to take place within those that are consistently exposed to alcohol. As a result, alcohol dependence treatment will often rely on an alcohol rehab center’s ability to identify the level of damage, and then suggest suitable recovery and detox plans.
The alcohol use disorder definition will often be called into play, and this is defined as a brief outline of the varying grades of alcohol addiction. The more severe the addiction, the more likely a dependence may occur/ may have already occurred – and in these instances, more extreme treatment may be necessary.
It’s widely accepted that the longer exposure is able to take place, the more likely that the effects of alcohol will have taken a negative toll on the brain. As can be understood from the definition of the aforementioned three parts of the brain that can suffer with damage and decay – if alcohol is able to be absorbed by the tissue, it can result in more severe withdrawal symptoms. When paired with the rational thought-numbing properties of the chemical, it can often result in severe trauma and a lack of interest that leaves the sufferer feeling unable to recover.