ALCOHOL'S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN (2023)

Binge Drinking and Blackouts

• Drinkers who experience blackouts typically drink too much and too quickly, which causes their blood alcohol levels to rise very rapidly. College students may be at particular risk for experiencing a blackout, as an alarming number of college students engage in binge drinking. Binge drinking, for a typical adult, is defined as consuming five or more drinks in about 2 hours for men, or four or more drinks for women.

Equal numbers of men and women reported experiencing blackouts, despite the fact that the men drank significantly more often and more heavily than the women. This outcome suggests that regardless of the amount of alcohol consumption, females—a group infrequently studied in the literature on blackouts—are at greater risk than males for experiencing blackouts. A woman’s tendency to black out more easily probably results from differences in how men and women metabolize alcohol. Females also may be more susceptible than males to milder forms of alcohol–induced memory impairments, even when men and women consume comparable amounts of alcohol (4).

ARE WOMEN MORE VULNERABLE TO ALCOHOL’S EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN?

Women are more vulnerable than men to many of the medical consequences of alcohol use. For example, alcoholic women develop cirrhosis (5), alcohol–induced damage of the heart muscle (i.e., cardiomyopathy) (6), and nerve damage (i.e., peripheral neuropathy) (7) after fewer years of heavy drinking than do alcoholic men. Studies comparing men and women’s sensitivity to alcohol–induced brain damage, however, have not been as conclusive.

Using imaging with computerized tomography, two studies (8,9) compared brain shrinkage, a common indicator of brain damage, in alcoholic men and women and reported that male and female alcoholics both showed significantly greater brain shrinkage than control subjects. Studies also showed that both men and women have similar learning and memory problems as a result of heavy drinking (10). The difference is that alcoholic women reported that they had been drinking excessively for only about half as long as the alcoholic men in these studies. This indicates that women’s brains, like their other organs, are more vulnerable to alcohol–induced damage than men’s (11).

Yet other studies have not shown such definitive findings. In fact, two reports appearing side by side in the American Journal of Psychiatry contradicted each other on the question of gender–related vulnerability to brain shrinkage in alcoholism (12,13). Clearly, more research is needed on this topic, especially because alcoholic women have received less research attention than alcoholic men despite good evidence that women may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol’s effects on many key organ systems.

BRAIN DAMAGE FROM OTHER CAUSES

People who have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain. Damage may be a result of the direct effects of alcohol on the brain or may result indirectly, from a poor general health status or from severe liver disease.

For example, thiamine deficiency is a common occurrence in people with alcoholism and results from poor overall nutrition. Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is an essential nutrient required by all tissues, including the brain. Thiamine is found in foods such as meat and poultry; whole grain cereals; nuts; and dried beans, peas, and soybeans. Many foods in the United States commonly are fortified with thiamine, including breads and cereals. As a result, most people consume sufficient amounts of thiamine in their diets. The typical intake for most Americans is 2 mg/day; the Recommended Daily Allowance is 1.2 mg/day for men and 1.1 mg/day for women (14).

Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome

Up to 80 percent of alcoholics, however, have a deficiency in thiamine (15), and some of these people will go on to develop serious brain disorders such as Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) (16). WKS is a disease that consists of two separate syndromes, a short–lived and severe condition called Wernicke’s encephalopathy and a long–lasting and debilitating condition known as Korsakoff’s psychosis.

The symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy include mental confusion, paralysis of the nerves that move the eyes (i.e., oculomotor disturbances), and difficulty with muscle coordination. For example, patients with Wernicke’s encephalopathy may be too confused to find their way out of a room or may not even be able to walk. Many Wernicke’s encephalopathy patients, however, do not exhibit all three of these signs and symptoms, and clinicians working with alcoholics must be aware that this disorder may be present even if the patient shows only one or two of them. In fact, studies performed after death indicate that many cases of thiamine deficiency–related encephalopathy may not be diagnosed in life because not all the “classic” signs and symptoms were present or recognized.

(Video) Effects of Alcohol on the Brain, Animation, Professional version.

Human Brain

ALCOHOL'S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN (1)

Schematic drawing of the human brain, showing regions vulnerable to alcoholism-related abnormalities.

Approximately 80 to 90 percent of alcoholics with Wernicke’s encephalopathy also develop Korsakoff’s psychosis, a chronic and debilitating syndrome characterized by persistent learning and memory problems. Patients with Korsakoff’s psychosis are forgetful and quickly frustrated and have difficulty with walking and coordination (17). Although these patients have problems remembering old information (i.e., retrograde amnesia), it is their difficulty in “laying down” new information (i.e., anterograde amnesia) that is the most striking. For example, these patients can discuss in detail an event in their lives, but an hour later might not remember ever having the conversation.

Treatment

The cerebellum, an area of the brain responsible for coordinating movement and perhaps even some forms of learning, appears to be particularly sensitive to the effects of thiamine deficiency and is the region most frequently damaged in association with chronic alcohol consumption. Administering thiamine helps to improve brain function, especially in patients in the early stages of WKS. When damage to the brain is more severe, the course of care shifts from treatment to providing support to the patient and his or her family (18). Custodial care may be necessary for the 25 percent of patients who have permanent brain damage and significant loss of cognitive skills (19).

Scientists believe that a genetic variation could be one explanation for why only some alcoholics with thiamine deficiency go on to develop severe conditions such as WKS, but additional studies are necessary to clarify how genetic variants might cause some people to be more vulnerable to WKS than others.

LIVER DISEASE

Most people realize that heavy, long–term drinking can damage the liver, the organ chiefly responsible for breaking down alcohol into harmless byproducts and clearing it from the body. But people may not be aware that prolonged liver dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis resulting from excessive alcohol consumption, can harm the brain, leading to a serious and potentially fatal brain disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy (20).

Hepatic encephalopathy can cause changes in sleep patterns, mood, and personality; psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression; severe cognitive effects such as shortened attention span; and problems with coordination such as a flapping or shaking of the hands (called asterixis). In the most serious cases, patients may slip into a coma (i.e., hepatic coma), which can be fatal.

New imaging techniques have enabled researchers to study specific brain regions in patients with alcoholic liver disease, giving them a better understanding of how hepatic encephalopathy develops. These studies have confirmed that at least two toxic substances, ammonia and manganese, have a role in the development of hepatic encephalopathy. Alcohol–damaged liver cells allow excess amounts of these harmful byproducts to enter the brain, thus harming brain cells.

TreatmentPhysicians typically use the following strategies to prevent or treat the development of hepatic encephalopathy.

  • Treatment that lowers blood ammonia concentrations, such as administering L–ornithine L–aspartate.

    (Video) How Bad Is Heavy Drinking on the Brain?

  • Techniques such as liver–assist devices, or “artificial livers,” that clear the patients’ blood of harmful toxins. In initial studies, patients using these devices showed lower amounts of ammonia circulating in their blood, and their encephalopathy became less severe (21).

  • Liver transplantation, an approach that is widely used in alcoholic cirrhotic patients with severe (i.e., end–stage) chronic liver failure. In general, implantation of a new liver results in significant improvements in cognitive function in these patients (22) and lowers their levels of ammonia and manganese (23).

ALCOHOL AND THE DEVELOPING BRAIN

Drinking during pregnancy can lead to a range of physical, learning, and behavioral effects in the developing brain, the most serious of which is a collection of symptoms known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS may have distinct facial features (see illustration). FAS infants also are markedly smaller than average. Their brains may have less volume (i.e., microencephaly). And they may have fewer numbers of brain cells (i.e., neurons) or fewer neurons that are able to function correctly, leading to long–term problems in learning and behavior.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

ALCOHOL'S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN (2)

Children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) may have distinct facial features.

Treatment

Scientists are investigating the use of complex motor training and medications to prevent or reverse the alcohol–related brain damage found in people prenatally exposed to alcohol (24). In a study using rats, Klintsova and colleagues (25) used an obstacle course to teach complex motor skills, and this skills training led to a re–organization in the adult rats’ brains (i.e., cerebellum), enabling them to overcome the effects of the prenatal alcohol exposure. These findings have important therapeutic implications, suggesting that complex rehabilitative motor training can improve motor performance of children, or even adults, with FAS.

Scientists also are looking at the possibility of developing medications that can help alleviate or prevent brain damage, such as that associated with FAS. Studies using animals have yielded encouraging results for treatments using antioxidant therapy and vitamin E. Other preventive therapies showing promise in animal studies include 1–octanol, which ironically is an alcohol itself. Treatment with l–octanol significantly reduced the severity of alcohol’s effects on developing mouse embryos (26). Two molecules associated with normal development (i.e., NAP and SAL) have been found to protect nerve cells against a variety of toxins in much the same way that octanol does (27). And a compound (MK–801) that blocks a key brain chemical associated with alcohol withdrawal (i.e., glutamate) also is being studied. MK–801 reversed a specific learning impairment that resulted from early postnatal alcohol exposure (28).

Though these compounds were effective in animals, the positive results cited here may or may not translate to humans. Not drinking during pregnancy is the best form of prevention; FAS remains the leading preventable birth defect in the United States today.

GROWING NEW BRAIN CELLS

For decades scientists believed that the number of nerve cells in the adult brain was fixed early in life. If brain damage occurred, then, the best way to treat it was by strengthening the existing neurons, as new ones could not be added. In the 1960s, however, researchers found that new neurons are indeed generated in adulthood—a process called neurogenesis (29). These new cells originate from stem cells, which are cells that can divide indefinitely, renew themselves, and give rise to a variety of cell types. The discovery of brain stem cells and adult neurogenesis provides a new way of approaching the problem of alcohol–related changes in the brain and may lead to a clearer understanding of how best to treat and cure alcoholism (30).

(Video) Alcohol effects on brain and body

For example, studies with animals show that high doses of alcohol lead to a disruption in the growth of new brain cells; scientists believe it may be this lack of new growth that results in the long–term deficits found in key areas of the brain (such as hippocampal structure and function) (31,32). Understanding how alcohol interacts with brain stem cells and what happens to these cells in alcoholics is the first step in establishing whether the use of stem cell therapies is an option for treatment (33).

SUMMARY

Alcoholics are not all alike. They experience different degrees of impairment, and the disease has different origins for different people. Consequently, researchers have not found conclusive evidence that any one variable is solely responsible for the brain deficits found in alcoholics. Characterizing what makes some alcoholics vulnerable to brain damage whereas others are not remains the subject of active research (34).

The good news is that most alcoholics with cognitive impairment show at least some improvement in brain structure and functioning within a year of abstinence, though some people take much longer (35–37). Clinicians must consider a variety of treatment methods to help people stop drinking and to recover from alcohol–related brain impairments, and tailor these treatments to the individual patient.

Advanced technology will have an important role in developing these therapies. Clinicians can use brain–imaging techniques to monitor the course and success of treatment, because imaging can reveal structural, functional, and biochemical changes in living patients over time. Promising new medications also are in the early stages of development, as researchers strive to design therapies that can help prevent alcohol’s harmful effects and promote the growth of new brain cells to take the place of those that have been damaged by alcohol.

SIDEBAR

Using High–Tech Tools to Assess Alcoholic Brain Damage

Researchers studying the effects of alcohol use on the brain are aided by advanced technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), positron emission tomography (PET), and electrophysiological brain mapping. These tools are providing valuable insight into how alcohol affects the brain’s structure and function.

Long–term heavy drinking may lead to shrinking of the brain and deficiencies in the fibers (white matter) that carry information between brain cells (gray matter). MRI and DTI are being used together to assess the brains of patients when they first stop chronic heavy drinking and again after long periods of sobriety, to monitor for possible relapse to drinking (38).

(Video) Alcohol Related Brain Injury | Martin Jackson | Ausmed Lectures

Memory formation and retrieval are highly influenced by factors such as attention and motivation (39). Studies using MRI are helping scientists to determine how memory and attention improve with long-time abstinence from alcohol, as well as what changes take place when a patient begins drinking again. The goal of these studies is to determine which alcohol–induced effects on the brain are permanent and which ones can be reversed with abstinence.

PET imaging is allowing researchers to visualize, in the living brain, the damage that results from heavy alcohol consumption (40). This “snapshot” of the brain’s function enables scientists to analyze alcohol’s effects on various nerve cell communication systems (i.e., neurotransmitter systems) as well as on brain cell metabolism and blood flow within the brain. These studies have detected deficits in alcoholics, particularly in the frontal lobes, which are responsible for numerous functions associated with learning and memory, as well as in the cerebellum, which controls movement and coordination. PET also is a promising tool for monitoring the effects of alcoholism treatment and abstinence on damaged portions of the brain and may help in developing new medications to correct the chemical deficits found in the brains of people with alcohol dependence.

Another high–tech tool, electroencephalography (EEG), records the brain’s electrical signals (41). Small electrodes are placed on the scalp to detect this electrical activity, which then is magnified and graphed as brain waves (i.e., neural oscillations). These brain waves show real–time activity as it happens in the brain.

Many male alcoholics have a distinctive electrophysiological profile—that is, a low amplitude of their P3 components (see figure). P3 amplitudes in women alcoholics also are reduced, although to a lesser extent than in men. For many years it was assumed that the P3 deficit observed in alcoholics was the result of alcohol’s damage to the brain. Then it was determined that while many of the clinical symptoms and electrophysiological measures associated with alcoholism return to normal after abstinence, the P3 amplitude abnormality persists (42).

ALCOHOL'S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN (3)

The P3 component is reduced in alcoholics compared with control subjects.

This continued deficit in long–term abstinent alcoholics suggests that P3 deficits may be a marker of risk for alcohol dependence, rather than a result of alcohol use. In fact, a number of studies have since reported low P3 amplitudes in young people who have not started drinking alcohol but who are at high risk for developing alcoholism, such as young sons of alcoholic fathers (43,44). Markers such as the P3 can help identify people who may be at greatest risk for developing problems with alcohol.

(Video) New study shows long-term effects of alcohol on brains

END OF SIDEBAR

References

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American Journal of Cardiology 80:481–485, 1997. (7) Ammendola, A.; Gemini, D.; Iannacone, S.; et al. Gender and peripheral neuropathy in chronic alcoholism: A clinical–electroneurographic study. Alcohol and Alcoholism 35:368–371, 2000. (8) Jacobson, R. The contributions of sex and drinking history to the CT brain scan changes in alcoholics. Psychological Medicine 16:547–559, 1986. (9) Mann, K.; Batra, A.; Gunther, A.; and Schroth, G. Do women develop alcoholic brain damage more readily than men? Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 16(6):1052–1056, 1992. (10) Nixon, S.; Tivis, R.; and Parsons, O. Behavioral dysfunction and cognitive efficiency in male and female alcoholics. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 19(3):577–581, 1995. (11) Hommer, D.W. Male and female sensitivity to alcohol–induced brain damage. Alcohol Research & Health 27(2):181–185, 2003. (12) Hommer, D.W.; Momenan, R.; Kaiser, E.; and Rawlings, R.R. 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(18) Martin, P. “Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome: Alcohol–related dementia.” Family Caregiver Alliance Fact Sheet, 1998. (19) Cook, C. “The Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome can be treated.” The Medical Council on Alcohol, vol. 19, 2000. (20) Butterworth, R.F. Hepatic encephalopathy—A serious complication of alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol Research & Health 27(2):143–145, 2003. (21) Mitzner, S.R., and Williams, R. Albumin dialysis MARS 2003. Liver International 23(Suppl. 3):1–72, 2003. (22) Arria, A.M.; Tarter, R.E.; Starzl, T.E.; and Van Thiel, D.H. Improvement in cognitive functioning of alcoholics following orthotopic liver transplantation. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 15(6):956–962, 1991. (23) Pujol, A.; Pujol, J.; Graus, F.; et al. Hyperintense globus pallidus on T1–weighted MRI in cirrhotic patients is associated with severity of liver failure. Neurology 43:65–69, 1993. (24) Chen, W–J.A.; Maier, S.E.; Parnell, S.E.; and West, J.E. 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Resources
ALCOHOL'S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN (4)

Source material for this Alcohol Alert originally appeared in the journal Alcohol Research & Health, “Alcoholic Brain Damage” (Vol. 27, No. 2, 2003).

Alcohol Research & Health is the quarterly, peer–reviewed journal published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Each issue of AR&H provides in–depth focus on a single topic in the field of alcohol research.

Back issues of Alcohol Research & Health and additional resources can be downloaded from NIAAA’s Web site, www.niaaa.nih.gov. Subscriptions are available from the Superintendent of Documents for $25. Write to New Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250–7954; or fax 202/512–2250.

All material contained in the Alcohol Alert is in the public domain and may be used or reproduced without permission from NIAAA. Citation of the source is appreciated.
Copies of the Alcohol Alert are available free of charge from the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Publications Distribution Center
P.O. Box 10686, Rockville, MD 20849–0686.

Prepared: October 2004

FAQs

What are alcohol's effects on the brain? ›

Alcohol makes it harder for the brain areas controlling balance, memory, speech, and judgment to do their jobs, resulting in a higher likelihood of injuries and other negative outcomes. Long-term, heavy drinking causes alterations in the neurons, such as reductions in their size.

What part of the brain is most damaged by alcohol? ›

The cerebellum, an area of the brain responsible for coordinating movement and perhaps even some forms of learning, appears to be particularly sensitive to the effects of thiamine deficiency and is the region most frequently damaged in association with chronic alcohol consumption.

Can you damage your brain from drinking? ›

It is a myth that drinking kills brain cells. Instead, alcohol damages the brain in other ways, for instance, by damaging the ends of neurons. This can make it difficult for those neurons to send important nerve signals. Alcohol may also damage the brain by increasing the risk of strokes, head injuries, and accidents.

What are 4 long term effects of alcohol on the brain? ›

Cognitive effects of alcohol use may include memory loss, problems with learning, dementia, and severely hindered mental functioning in most severe cases.

What causes brain damage in alcoholics? ›

Low levels of thiamine (vitamin B1)

A lot of the brain damage that is caused by alcohol happens because it prevents the body from getting enough thiamine (vitamin B1). This is a vitamin that the brain needs to work properly. People who are addicted to alcohol are also much less likely to have a balanced diet.

Is one drink a day good for you? ›

To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.

What is first affected by alcohol? ›

When you drink alcohol, you don't digest alcohol. It passes quickly into your bloodstream and travels to every part of your body. Alcohol affects your brain first, then your kidneys, lungs and liver.

What two parts of the brain are affected by alcohol? ›

The Frontal Lobes: The frontal lobes of our brain are responsible for cognition, thought, memory, and judgment. By inhibiting its effects, alcohol impairs nearly every one of these functions. The hippocampus: The hippocampus forms and stores memory. Alcohol's impact on the hippocampus leads to memory loss.

What 3 parts of the brain are affected by alcohol? ›

This level of intoxication affects the occipital lobe, temporal lobe and frontal lobe in your brain. Drinking too much can cause side effects specific to each lobe's role, including blurred vision, slurred speech and hearing, and lack of control, respectively.

What causes brain damage? ›

It causes headaches, confusion, memory problems, and nausea. In a moderate brain injury, symptoms can last longer and be more pronounced. In both cases, most patients make a good recovery, although even in mild brain injury 15% of people will have persistent problems after one year.

How many brain cells are killed by alcohol? ›

Popular wisdom holds that “every alcoholic drink you take kills 1,000 brain cells.” Is it true? Does drinking alcohol really destroy brain cells? The short answer: No. Drinking alcohol doesn't kill brain cells.

Can your brain recover from too much alcohol? ›

According to a recent article on recovery of behavior and brain function after abstinence from alcohol, individuals in recovery can rest assured that some brain functions will fully recover; but others may require more work.

What are 7 long term effects of drinking? ›

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.

Which alcohol is best for heart? ›

Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent coronary artery disease, the condition that leads to heart attacks.

What age is alcohol safe? ›

Second, we know from extensive research that teens who start drinking before age 15 are SIX times more likely to develop problems with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency than those who start drinking at age 21.

Which alcohol is best for health? ›

Red wine. When it comes to a healthier alcohol, red wine is top of the list. Red wine contains antioxidants, which can protect your cells from damage, and polyphenols, which can promote heart health. White wine and rose contain those too, just in smaller quantities.

How much alcohol is safe per day? ›

To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the Guidelines recommend that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.

How much alcohol is too much? ›

For men, binge drinking is 5 or more drinks consumed on one occasion. Underage drinking: Any alcohol use by those under age 21. Heavy drinking: For women, heavy drinking is 8 drinks or more per week. For men, heavy drinking is 15 drinks or more per week.

Why do people drink alcohol? ›

A number of different motives for drinking alcohol have been examined, including drinking to enhance sociability, to increase power, to escape problems, to get drunk, for enjoyment, or for ritualistic reasons. Despite this diversity, most research has focused on two broad categories of motivation.

How long does alcohol affect your brain? ›

The new research shows that it takes at least two weeks for the brain to start returning to normal, so this is the point at which the alcohol recovery timeline begins. Until the brain has recovered, it is less able so suppress the urge to drink. This is because the alcohol has impaired the brains cognitive ability.

What part of the brain controls memory? ›

Hippocampus. A curved seahorse-shaped organ on the underside of each temporal lobe, the hippocampus is part of a larger structure called the hippocampal formation. It supports memory, learning, navigation and perception of space.

Can one night of drinking cause brain damage? ›

The research proves that it does not take as much alcohol as most people believe to cause real harm to the brain. Binge drinking for one night can still be harmful to the brain and body even for young people who aren't yet addicted to the drug.

How is brain damage treated? ›

Emergency surgery may be needed to minimize additional damage to brain tissues. Surgery may be used to address the following problems: Removing clotted blood (hematomas). Bleeding outside or within the brain can result in a collection of clotted blood (hematoma) that puts pressure on the brain and damages brain tissue.

Can the brain recover from damage? ›

Most studies suggest that once brain cells are destroyed or damaged, for the most part, they do not regenerate. However, recovery after brain injury can take place, especially in younger people, as, in some cases, other areas of the brain make up for the injured tissue.

Can brain damage person survive? ›

Those who survive a brain injury can face lasting effects in their physical and mental abilities as well as emotions and personality. Most people who suffer moderate to severe TBI will need rehabilitation to recover and relearn skills.

Does alcohol cause memory loss? ›

Alcohol primarily disrupts the ability to form new long–term memories; it causes less disruption of recall of previously established long–term memories or of the ability to keep new information active in short–term memory for a few seconds or more.

Can the brain repair itself? ›

The brain's ability to repair or replace itself is not limited to just two areas. Instead, when an adult brain cell of the cortex is injured, it reverts (at a transcriptional level) to an embryonic cortical neuron.

Is damage from drinking reversible? ›

Reversible Effects from Alcohol Abuse

Maintaining sobriety for 5-7 years is the peak time where reversible changes can occur. However, most change usually takes place in the first year. Any further damage due to alcohol abuse is retracted if one stops drinking. Still, many brain changes can't be eliminated.

How long does it take for brain chemistry to return to normal? ›

Normal, healthy dopamine production depends on a wide variety of factors, but many medical professionals believe that your brain's dopamine production will return to pre-substance misuse levels over a period of 90 days.

What damage does drinking every day do? ›

Several important takeaways include: Alcohol can affect the GI tract, heart, kidneys, liver, and vascular system in the short-term. Chronic alcohol abuse can include arrhythmias, cirrhosis, and risk of stroke. Alcohol abuse can contribute to or worsen mental health conditions over time.

Which organs are affected by alcohol? ›

Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including: Steatosis, or fatty liver.

How long do you have to drink before liver damage? ›

Alcohol Related Cirrhosis: The most serious form of ALD, it occurs when the entire liver is scarred, causing the liver to shrink and harden. This can lead to liver failure. Usually the damage cannot be reversed. Between 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis typically after 10 or more years of drinking.

› Addiction › Alcoholism ›

The effects of alcohol on the brain are more serious than memory loss and blurred vision. Long-term effects of alcohol on the brain can be fatal.

What happens if you drink 1 beer everyday? ›

Drinking one or two standard beers per day may have positive effects, such as benefits to your heart, better blood sugar control, stronger bones, and reduced dementia risk.

Is it OK to drink a little everyday? ›

Should I be concerned? ANSWER: Occasional beer or wine with dinner, or a drink in the evening, is not a health problem for most people. When drinking becomes a daily activity, though, it may represent progression of your consumption and place you at increased health risks.

How much alcohol is safe daily? ›

According to a survey, it is found that people don't realize their drinking habits could contribute to their cancer risk. However, the new PLOS Medicine Study reports that sipping on one or two drinks per day isn't that bad and keeping it to a maximum of three drinks a week is the healthiest.

How much should you actually drink a day? ›

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

Videos

1. What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #86
(Andrew Huberman)
2. 🍺 Why Alcohol Is Killing Your Body & Brain, And How To Reverse The Damage! - by Dr Sam Robbins
(Dr Sam Robbins)
3. What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol
(The Infographics Show)
4. Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?
(Neuro Transmissions)
5. Alcohol and the brain
(OHSU)
6. How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Affect the Brain
(Ventura Recovery Center)
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