Alcohol begins having an effect on your body from that first sip. As alcohol consumption increases, its effects become more damaging and can have some very negative short and long-term consequences. As one consumes more and more alcohol, different areas of the brain become affected. Below is an overview of how alcohol affects these different parts of the brain.
- Cerebral Cortex- This portion of the brain is responsible for processing sensory information, thought processing and consciousness. It also initiates voluntary muscle function. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and slows the processing that takes place in the cerebral cortex. A person will have trouble feeling, hearing, seeing, and tasting when alcohol is affecting this part of the brain. They will also have increased confidence and decreased social inhibition.
- Limbic System- Memory and emotions are controlled here. When alcohol reaches this part of a brain, a person may have trouble controlling their emotions and may experience me.
- Cerebellum- Nerve impulses that control fine muscle movement originate in this part of the brain. As alcohol takes root here, a person will lose their coordination and sense of balance. They would have trouble doing things like touching their finger to their nose or walking a straight line and might even fall down.
- Hypothalamus and pituitary gland- This area of the brain is responsible for hormone secretion and alcohol has two main effects on it. The first is sexual arousal and performance. Alcohol makes a person become more easily aroused but decreases their performance. The second is that it inhibits anti-diuretic hormone secretion, which leads to excessive urination and dehydration.
- Medulla- The brain stem, or medulla, is responsible for all of the body's involuntary functions such as heart rate, breathing, temperature and consciousness. As alcohol begins to affect the medulla, these functions will be hampered which can lead to very serious problems including a dip in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, lowered breathing and heart rates, and a decrease in temperature. These conditions can be fatal.