How Alcohol Affects Mental Health

Alcoholism and Mental Health

Drinking one or two glasses of wine or beer can somehow give you that relaxing effect you need for a tiring day at the office. These are the notable short-term impacts of alcohol, yet if you continue to uncontrollably consume it, then you’re at risk of its long-term adverse effects.

This depressant is known to impact your mental health where it is frequently associated with depression and memory loss. Before you drown yourself in alcohol, think twice about the detrimental effects it can bring to your brain and body.

Can Alcohol Lead To Mental Health Problems?

When you heavily drink alcohol, it has a strong tendency to disrupt your brain chemicals, thereby, leading to signs of psychiatric disorders. This substance is known to alter mood and behavior, and one evidence is alcohol-induced depression. Therefore, it’s no longer surprising to see patients with alcoholism also diagnosed with mental disorders.

If a person has acute intoxication with alcohol, he will feel its euphoric effect. However, if he heavily drinks, that intensely changes his mood making him feel more irritable and nervous. Also, this substance has the property to inhibit sound judgment, which pushes someone to be more aggressive and unreasonable.

How To Determine Brain Damage Due To Alcohol?

If you have low alcohol tolerance, then you can quickly see its adverse brain effects after one to three drinks. Some of these noticeable signs are slurred speech, slow body coordination, memory loss, and slower responses to stimuli.

Long-term side effects are more evident for people who excessively drink for a longer time. This worsens when that person takes in huge volumes of alcohol. Here are some of the serious brain damages brought about by alcoholism:

Blackouts and Memory Loss

Mental HealthWhen you consume drinks quickly or on an empty stomach, you are likely to suffer a blackout. This scenario usually happens to social drinkers where they binge on weekends. Around 51 percent of these drinkers experience a blackout once in their life, while 40 percent of them have it every year.

The danger of blackout is when you suddenly fall and your head bumps to a hard surface. This can cause serious head trauma, or worse is internal bleeding. Also, sexual abuse is common among individuals who lose consciousness during their drinking sessions.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

This disease is caused by the depletion of thiamine in the brain due to excess alcohol consumption. There are two types of this condition: Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis.

  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a short-term brain disorder where a person experiences confusion, loss of body coordination, and inability to move your eyes. Not all three symptoms will be felt by the patient, but he will be having a difficult time finding his way out of the room due to confusion.
  • Korsakoff’s psychosis is the worst long-term brain dysfunction caused by alcoholism. Around 80-90 percent of people having Wernicke’s encephalopathy develop this condition where the prominent sign is memory loss and inability to properly walk. Also, that person will experience a learning disability.

Damaged Cerebellum

These two brain disorders are rooted in a damaged cerebellum due to excess alcohol in the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for the control of your muscle movement and coordination. At the same time, learning ability is also found in the cerebellum, that’s why a person experiences a slow learning pattern when he is a heavy drinker.

What Other Brain Parts Are Affected By Alcohol?

Besides the cerebellum, alcohol alters other sections of your brain, which causes an abrupt change in your mood, thinking, and behavior. Here are other brain parts impacted by alcohol:

  • Hypothalamus: This part is responsible for the balance in body hormones. Too much alcohol disrupts hormonal balance, which can lead to increased sexual arousal but with the decreased physical ability to do so.
  • Cerebral Cortex: This is the central processing unit responsible for our ability to make sound judgments and analyses. Alcohol disrupts this function, thereby causing slowed response and confusion.
  • Hippocampus: This part is responsible for your memory function. Alcohol can damage this part and then lead to blackouts and short-term memory loss.
  • Medulla: This part is responsible for controlling automatic body functions that are vital for survival. A person who suffers from alcoholism will have depressed breathing and heart rate since their medulla is damaged.

How does Alcohol Induce Anxiety Disorder?

Mental HealthOur body has its natural way of relaxing through brain hormones like serotonin and dopamine. If you want an external way to relax, that’s when you drink alcohol. To some extent, it does help you relax and calm down, however, if you excessively drink, then you’ll build a tolerance to its de-stressing effects.

A heavy drinker becomes more dependent on alcohol to let his brain and body relax, so as soon as the alcohol wears off, anxiety strikes. This is called alcohol-induced anxiety disorder, which is similar to depression problems for drinkers.

If you are suffering from this condition, then it’s best if you have an early alcohol rehab treatment. The more you let this linger, the harder it is to treat.

Can Alcohol Kill Your Brain Cells?

Mental HealthHave you heard about brain shrinkage when you drink too much alcohol? This is true since excess alcohol can cause your hippocampus to shrink, and this leads to decreased memory and reasoning function. However, is it true that alcohol can kill your brain cells?

The answer is no, but it does have long-term detrimental impacts on your brain. Some of these notable impacts are blackouts, confusion, inability to move your eyes, and walking normally.

Seek Early Treatment from Reliable Alcohol Rehab Centers

The cases of alcoholism in the U.S. are rampant since people use it as a means to socialize and get off with stress. Unfortunately, you can never guarantee that you won’t excessively drink, especially when your peers pressure you, or your depressive situation moves you to do so.

The best way to recover from alcohol use disorder is to enroll in an alcohol rehab treatment. You can find many reliable centers online, and you can even ask for a referral from your doctor or addiction specialist.

Take that bold step towards your treatment and embrace the challenge of getting back your healthy life.