Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol regularly can raise your BAC (or Blood Alcohol Content) level, which in turn can have drastic impacts on your brain and the many different ways it functions. Each section of our brain has a specific name and function which alcohol can drastically impact, and prolonged binge drinking can lead to permanent brain damage, as well as brain related diseases. Parts of the brain include our; central nervous system, medulla, cerebellum, cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and hypothalamus.
How B.A.C Impacts the Brain
Central Nervous System
This complex system – where our brainstem, spinal cord, and nervous system connect is slowed when too much alcohol is consumed, so several of your actions will be slowed as well. This also means your reaction time won’t be as quick, so drinking and driving can become very dangerous for you or an innocent civilian.
The medulla is in charge of our involuntary reflexes, or all the tasks our body performs without us having to think about them. Examples of these functions include; respiratory activity, swallowing, vomiting, sneezing, coughing, and cardiovascular activity. If you fall asleep on your back, you could potentially drown in your vomit because of the loss of these incredibly important involuntary reactions.
Reflexes are affected substantially, which control much of our movement when binge drinking occurs. Important functions that become compromised comprise of; coordinated movement, balance, muscle timing, proper postural alignment, and cognitive learning. Losing control of any one of these abilities, even for a short time, could lead to injuries or even death.
All of your senses and emotions are the cerebral cortexes main function, and alcohol can make you lose control of how you react to any given situation. It can cause you to make unwise decisions you wouldn’t normally make while sober. This region, when disrupted by excessive alcohol consumption, can cause the following traits to be altered; personality, speech, hearing, smell, taste, and sight. This part of your brain gives you the brilliant idea to call up an ex at 3:00am in the morning. Even worse, you could decide to drive home, and this could be a misstep you’d regret for many long years.
Your memory directly correlates with this area of your brain, so, when it’s overloaded by bingeing on heavy amounts of alcohol, it, in turn, causes you to “brownout” -a new term- or “blackout”. Browning out is when you’re able to recall bits and pieces of the events of the evening, but they’re usually jumbled and slightly unclear. Blacking out is when you can’t recall anything at all, especially within the last few hours of drinking. These memories aren’t always necessarily completely gone, and a lot of the time they’ll come flooding back as your friends’ discuss what took place throughout the remainder of the evening.
Hungrier and thirstier is what you’ll end up feeling when you overindulge in alcohol. This small section of the brain controls; heart rate, appetite, and thirst.
Written by Curtis Boyd, for Wilson Law