Alcohol is the most abused recreational, psychoactive substance in the United States. In fact, as many as 80% of American adults have consumed alcohol within the last twelve months, with as many as 66 million developing a drinking disorder. The effects of alcohol on the brain are also damaging. Long-term alcohol abuse and alcoholism can result in a permanent cognitive impairment which can persist after long term sobriety.
Alcohol works by releasing excessive amounts of neurotransmitters, such as GABA and serotonin, which eventually make your brain dependent on alcohol to release neurotransmitters. This means that you may want to consider an alcohol addiction treatment center in St Augustine FL as you try to cut back on drinking. Why?
In short, alcohol is also physically addictive, causing severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium tremors. Additionally, alcohol can damage your liver and worsen comorbid and co-occurring disorders, leading to a vicious cycle of increasing your drinking in order to self-medicate worsening symptoms.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism occurs when you continue to compulsively drink despite continual negative consequences. You may continue to abuse alcohol even if you desire to quit. Alcohol is a neurotransmitter inhibitor, meaning that when you drink alcohol, your brain releases things like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine in excess. While this immediate rush of neurotransmitters creates intense feelings of euphoria, when the effects where off, you can experience anxiety and depression.
Ethanol, the main ingredient in alcohol that creates the intoxicating effects, is processed and filtered through your liver. Your liver is typically able to process one serving of alcohol per hour, so drinking in excess can overwork your liver. Long term alcohol abuse can cause severe liver damage and increase your risk of liver cancer.
Other risks associated with alcoholism include:
- Personality and mood changes
- Isolating from friends and family
- Increased interpersonal conflict
- Higher chance of experiencing legal problems, such as DUIs
- Increased likelihood of participating in high-risk behavior
The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
In addition to physical and psychological dependence, the effects of alcohol on the brain can create serious and long-term complications. Alcohol can cause short term memory problems, such as blackouts, when you drink in excess. This can prevent your brain from creating new memories or recalling events that occurred while you were intoxicated.
Other effects of alcohol on the brain include that it can diminish your level of thiamine. During alcoholism, you can neglect your medical and physical health or fail to maintain a healthy diet. These factors can lead to thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is an essential vitamin called B1 which helps promote tissue health and growth in the brain. As many as 80% of alcoholics have a thiamine deficiency.
A Treatment Center for You
The effects of alcohol on the brain can become serious and irreversible. Pearl of the Sea Retreat, home to the premier alcohol addiction treatment center St Augustine FL offers, provides you with the compassion, understanding, tools, and education to help you recover. To learn more about our programs and your treatment options, call us today at 855.763.2545.