Alcoholism – Alcohol and The Brain

Alcohol produces short term and long term effects on the brain from changes in thoughts, mood, and behaviors to chemical changes that can mark alcohol dependence.Excessive drinking can cause specific changes in the brain. Short term effects of alcohol intoxication may include temporary euphoria (the ‘buzz’), loss of motor skills, and drowsiness or unconsciousness เหล้านอก. Regular heavy drinkers often begin to experience the long term effects of alcohol on the brain including alcohol tolerance and alcohol dependence.Explainer: How much will beer, wine and spirits cost under new minimum  alcohol pricing?

With alcohol tolerance, chemicals in the brain actually change to compensate for the long term use of alcohol. It signals neurotransmitters in the brain to function normally even in the presence of alcohol. Heavy drinkers require more alcohol to reach intoxication; they feel normal after consuming amounts of alcohol that would intoxicate a nondrinker or moderate drinker. This excessive drinking can lead to alcohol dependence and changes in the brain that increase the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Anxiety is a common withdrawal symptom associated with alcohol dependence. Ironically, the individual will attempt to mask the anxiety by drinking more, creating a vicious cycle. This is often the reason for relapse in patients who attend counseling only programs to address their alcohol abuse. Alcoholism and alcohol dependence create real changes in the chemicals and neurotransmitters of the brain. The most successful and sustainable recovery programs address these brain functions and help create new positive changes in the brain.

As research continues on the role neurotransmitters play in alcohol addiction, more medications are becoming available to help treat alcohol dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Everybody responds to the effects of alcohol differently. A one size fits all program or super pill does not exist. Treatment should be individualized and this includes the administering of any medications. A handful of medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat alcoholism.

For example, benzodiazepines brand names Valium and Xanax can help reduce anxiety during alcohol withdrawal and help restore balance in the brain. Naltrexone helps many people to slow and stop drinking by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain responsible for the euphoric feelings associated with drinking. Any medication should only be taken under the direction of a licensed physician and should be part of an integrative rehabilitation program.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.