Men and women of all ages use alcohol. Because the heavy consumption of alcohol is so prevalent, it may be difficult to identify an addiction. Additionally, many people develop an addiction because of their genetics. Although you might think alcohol is only causing life struggle, it also affects you cognitively. Therefore, if you’re concerned about alcohol addiction, you should be asking how does alcohol affect the brain.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain?
Many people experience regular problems when binge drinking. Ultimately, this leads to memory loss and blackouts. Typically, blackouts occur when people drink excessively in a short period of time. Overall, women are more vulnerable to these forms of memory loss than men.
However, both men and women have difficulty with learning and memory when they’ve been drinking excessively for long periods of time. Various issues that arise during blackout drinking include:
- No memory of driving while drunk
- Risky sexual behavior
- No memory of physical altercations
What is Wet Brain?
Wernicke-Kosakoff Syndrome, also known as “wet brain”, occurs as a result of a thiamine deficiency from alcoholism. Primarily, wet brain causes confusion and optical nerve paralysis. The symptoms of wet brain can be so severe, some people are unable to find their way out of a room. This is why seeking drug and alcohol rehab is so important.
The Young Brain
Young people, especially, are at high risk of slowing brain development. This is because the brain is still maturing during the adolescent years. The part of the brain responsible for logical decision making, impulse control, and empathy is the prefrontal cortex. It slows brain development when young people regularly drink in excess. Additionally, this means young people are more likely to develop an alcohol addiction.
Detox From Alcohol
Over the course of an addiction, chemicals from alcohol cause the brain and body to adapt. At first, the body is unused to the presence of a substance, allowing for quick and potent highs. Over time, however, the body adjusts, and it takes more alcohol more often to achieve the same effects. As the body builds tolerance, the brain drives cravings, which in turn fuels the vicious cycle of addiction.
When a physical dependency is unfulfilled, the affected person undergoes withdrawal. Withdrawal is particularly severe for heavy users, and for users of alcohol, heroin, and benzos. This severity is dangerous not only to a person’s health, but also to their recovery. If a person undergoes withdrawal but has access to their substance of choice, the urge to relapse will be very strong. Withdrawal is the first, and perhaps the most difficult, roadblock to your recovery.
Since withdrawal is so severe, doctors strongly recommend against going through withdrawal alone, aka “cold turkey.” Instead, doctors recommend that patients seek detox treatment. At San Antonio Recovery Center, we offer detox programs for alcohol and heroin, for both men and women.
Detox starts with withdrawal, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The benefit of detox is that it takes place in a secure, medically monitored environment. Some withdrawal symptoms, like seizures or delirium tremens (for alcoholics), can be fatal if left untreated. Medical professionals monitor detox patients 24/7 to keep them comfortable and safe as their body purges the addictive substance.
Contact San Antonio Recovery Center
If these alcoholism facts worry you, it’s time to get help. At San Antonio Recovery Center in San Antonio, Texas, we use the 12-step philosophy to help you regain control of your life. No matter how low you think you’ve gone, we’re here to uplift you. Our comprehensive programs include: