The It controls senses, thought, planning, problem

 The brain contains 100 billion neurons. This jelly-like mass is the most complex organ in the human body. Every experience, thought, action, memory, and feeling are produced by the brain. Alcohol, in large amounts, can damage and deteriorate the brain. Excessive alcohol use has been linked to disorders, diseases, and syndromes such as insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Korsakoff’s syndrome. Not only does alcohol affect the person consuming it, it can also affect the people around them. 28 people are killed every single day in America by alcohol-impaired drivers. 10,265 people died due to drunk driving in 2015. That’s about 29% of all traffic-related accidents. Alcohol-related accidents alone cost over 44 billion dollars. Not drinking may possibly save lives. Altering this lifestyle is beneficial for achieving better brain health and avoiding unwanted side effects.  Alcoholism affects the brain stem, the limbic system, and the cerebral cortex, three primary areas of the brain. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s normal processing and after continuous use, it can change how well it works. Digestion, moving blood, and breathing are all functions of the brain stem. It also connects the spinal cord with the brain to send impulses to the muscles. These are all functions the body needs to live. The limbic system controls our emotional responses. It gives us a feeling of pleasure while eating, which is very important because we need to eat to live. The cerebral cortex makes up 75% of the brain. It controls senses, thought, planning, problem solving, and the ability to make decisions. Even though the cerebral cortex of alcoholics has diffuse damage on both hemispheres of the brain, evidence shows that the frontal lobe is more vulnerable to alcohol-related damage than other parts. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for ordinary interpersonal, cognitive, and emotional activities. It is considered the brain’s executive because it is necessary for regulating and planning behavior. It stops unwanted or unnecessary behaviors from occurring. The frontal lobe is in charge of executive control skills, including problem-solving and good judgment. Heavy drinking can make a person behave inappropriately and impulsively. That can be really embarrassing for everyone involved. As alcoholics get older, the frontal lobe and brain changes in these areas become more prominent. Related studies have confirmed reports of impaired neuropsychological performance affecting metabolism and blood flow.  Scientists have hypothesized that the right hemisphere of the brain is more susceptible to alcohol-related damage than the left hemisphere of the brain. Each side is responsible for different tasks. The left is mainly responsible for understanding the written and spoken language and communication. The right side of the brain is dominant in coordinating interactions in the world. It’s easy to see which side of the brain is affected in patients due to the hemispheres’ different roles. Patients who drink excessively normally have trouble with designs, music, maps, and showing emotion. Alcoholics tend to be less reactive and emotionally flat. New research shows that heavy drinkers are bad at reading emotional cues and expressions.   Scientists hypothesize that excessive drinking makes the brain more vulnerable to cerebral atrophy, the loss of neurons and connections between each of them. Brain atrophy makes the brain smaller and withered. If the limbic system is affected, the brain is vulnerable to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome due to a lack of vitamin B1. This disorder causes memory loss, hallucinations, and loss or confusion of mental activity. Loss and confusion of mental activity can lead to coma or death. Frequent users and occasional drinkers were found to be at risk for anxiety and depression in people under the age of 60. High doses of alcohol can lead to insomnia too. Alcohol increases sympathetic activity which causes sleep disruption during the second part of the night. Malnutrition, blackouts, and memory loss are all common symptoms of alcoholism.  Long-term, heavy drinking can damage the liver. The liver is needed to detoxify chemicals, break them down, and clear them from the body. Prolonged liver dysfunction, caused by excess alcohol consumption, can damage the brain. Liver damage can cause a fatal brain disorder called hepatic encephalopathy to occur. This disorder causes changes in mood, sleep patterns, personality, and coordination problems. The worst case would be hepatic coma, which can be fatal. Studies have confirmed that ammonia and manganese are toxic substances that play a role in the development of hepatic encephalopathy. Liver cells affected by alcohol allow these toxins to enter the brain in excess amount, causing brain damage. Neurons use chemicals called neurotransmitters to communicate. The delicate balance of neurotransmitters can be thrown off course by heavy alcohol consumption, even if it’s only once.  Alcohol can change the neurotransmitters activity, causing excitation or inhibition. The neurotransmitters relay information and alcohol can slow that process down, which leads to drowsiness and behavioral changes including seizures, memory loss, and agitation. Heavy drinking, over long periods of time, can alter the neurons. Alterations such as a decrease in the size of brain cells may occur. Because of these changes, brain mass decreases and the inner cavity gets bigger. Motor coordination, sleep, temperature regulation, cognitive function, and mood are all factors affected by these changes in the brain. Small amounts of alcohol can lead to blackouts. Chronic alcohol consumption can result in sedation, seizures, agitation, and depression.  The amino acid glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect the glutamate action. Drinking may interfere with the action, leading to memory loss and blackouts. Alcoholism increases the amount of glutamate receptor sites in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the limbic system and is extremely important for memory and is often involved in epilepsy. After a long-term presence of alcohol, the receptors may adapt and become overactive. Neuronal death has been linked to this overactivity.  Alcoholism during pregnancy can lead to problems with the fetus’s brain. Drinking may lead to behavioral, learning, or physical effects in the developing brain. The most serious symptoms are known as fetal alcohol syndrome. The children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome have distinct facial features such as skin folds at the corner of the eyes, a small head, small eye openings, thin upper lip, and a short nose. Their brains may also have less volume and fewer brain cells. Fetal alcohol syndrome can lead to fewer neurons functioning correctly. All of the symptoms listed can lead to life-long learning and behavioral issues. Excess drinking may not only affect the person consuming the alcohol, but their soon-to-be child or the people around them. Alcoholism is deadly, and it’s suggested that you stop drinking as soon as possible or never start. Alcohol doesn’t just affect the brain, it can potentially ruin your whole body. The damage that alcohol does to the brain is usually not reversible and there sometimes isn’t a treatment. When brain damage becomes severe, the patient and their family can be at a loss, as well as the doctors. There isn’t much more the doctor can do besides console the patient and their family. Rehab is a great place to go for someone who wants or needs to stop drinking. Many facilities pair the alcoholic with a sponsor who calls every day and encourages the alcoholic to stay on the right path. The brain is the most important organ in the whole body, don’t ruin it

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