How Alcohol Affects the Brain and Mental Health
There are many effects of alcohol abuse on the brain, ultimately affecting the individuals’ mental health and mental state. Developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) is imminent when an individual is dependent on alcohol and abuses it for an extended period. If you struggle to limit your alcohol consumption, you may be on the road to alcohol addiction and alcoholism. For those in the throes of addiction, alcohol rehab is the only way to obtain lasting sobriety.
While alcohol is a legal substance and is widely accepted, these are also the specific factors that make it such a dangerous substance. Alcohol abuse has proven to be destructive to the abusers’ mental health, overall well-being, and physical health and being devastating to the individual and their loved ones. The longer the individual has abused alcohol, the more susceptible they are to alcohol addiction and alcoholism.
Alcohol’s Short Term Effects on the Brain
The short-term effects of alcohol on the brain should not be underestimated, as they can be just as dangerous as the long-term effects. Alcohol affects the central nervous system, which can affect speech and coordination. Of course, the quantity of alcohol consumed will have different degrees of impact on the individual.
Some of the other factors that influence the effects of alcohol on an individual are:
- Body makeup
- How much alcohol they consume
- Genetic factors (such as a family history of alcoholism)
- How often an individual drinks alcohol
When an individual drinks too much and too quickly, there can be severe mental effects such as lack of coordination, confusion, inability to make sound decisions, and impaired judgment.
Alcohol’s Long Term Effects on the Brain
Individuals who abuse alcohol on a long-term basis are at a much higher risk of alcohol-related health complications. Not only does alcohol take a toll on your physical appearance, but it also takes a detrimental toll on your body.
Some of the long-term risks of alcohol abuse include:
- It puts you at an increased risk for certain diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver
- Digestive issues
- A suppressed immune system
- Disturbed natural sleeping habits
- It places you at risk of developing a mental health disorder such as anxiety and depression
Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol addiction and alcoholism. The compulsive behavior of drinking can become highly problematic and take a toll on all facets of the individual’s life. Those who drink to excess also struggle with vitamin deficiency due to a poor diet that lacks vital nutrients to maintain overall health.
Alcohol and Mental Health
Alcohol and mental health go hand-in-hand, and those struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism lack healthy mental well-being. Those who are struggling with an alcohol abuse problem in conjunction with an underlying mental health disorder will notice that their symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, are exacerbated when they are under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are also associated with cognitive decline and memory loss. Those who drink alcohol excessively for decades on end are much more susceptible to dementia than those who drink in moderation or are entirely abstinent from alcohol.
Consistent and regular drinking begins to interfere with how the brain produces specific chemicals responsible for stable overall mental health. So much so that eventually, the brain will no longer be able to naturally make ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins without the supply of alcohol.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at WhiteSands
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offers alcohol rehab for those who are struggling with problem drinking. If you or someone you know battling alcohol addiction, get in touch with the specialists at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today or visit our facilities. During a patient’s inpatient stay, they will work with counselors and therapists to help them determine the root cause of their desire to drink so that a solid foundation for recovery can be formed.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.