Most people are aware that heavy drinking and alcohol abuse affects your body, health and wellbeing, including liver damage. However, many people are not aware of the effects of alcohol on the brain and mental health conditions. Alcohol misuse can lead to physical brain damage as well as mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Many people with alcohol dependence experience memory problems and slowed thinking because alcohol changes the brain physically.
If you or a loved one is suffering from any form of addiction or abuse, please call Sylvan Detox at (818) 308-3099.
How Alcohol Affects the Brain
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way it works. The effect of alcohol makes it harder for the brain areas that control balance, speech, memory, and judgment to do their jobs, which can result in injury and other negative outcomes. Over time, alcohol misuse causes the brain to adapt to how alcohol interferes with these signals and may develop alcohol dependence and eventually rely on alcohol or alcohol use disorder. When the person suddenly stops drinking, the brain and body then develop withdrawal symptoms. With severe and prolonged alcohol abuse, withdrawal symptoms can get worse and even dangerous. Over time, alcohol affects and continues damaging these brain pathways and brain matter. Often those with alcohol dependence, experience brain shrinkage which is a reduced volume of both gray matter and white matter.
Short Term Mental Side Effects of Alcohol
The effect of alcohol on the brain is due to it influencing the organ’s communication and information-processing pathways. Heavy or rapid drinking can result in negative mental effects. The short-term effects of alcohol abuse and heavy drinking on the brain include:
- Impaired motor coordination
- Reduced decision-making ability
- Respiratory suppression
- Slowed heart rate
- Problems remaining conscious
- Alcohol poisoning which can lead to coma and death
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on Thinking and Cognition
Heavy drinking over time can lead to several adverse mental health and wellbeing outcomes, some of which can be permanent. Long-term effects of alcohol on the brain include:
- Developing depression and anxiety
- Developing alcohol use disorder
- Shrinking of the brain’s hippocampus
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Mental confusion
- Cognitive impairment
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, also called “wet brain”
- Alcohol induced dementia
Alcohol’s Effects on Mood and Behavior
Strong effects of alcohol on the brain and its neurotransmitters, can alter mental health disorders, mood disorders and behavior. Short term effects of alcohol can include altered perceptions and intensified emotions such as depression, anger, and jealousy. Heavy drinking can worsen anxiety and cause a loss of emotional control. Heavy alcohol use can also decrease inhibition, give a false sense of confidence, cause unpredictable mood swings, increased aggression or feelings of worthlessness, and cause suicidal depression.
There is often a connection between co-occurring disorders like anxiety disorder and depressive disorders with substance abuse. Some people treat their mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, through alcohol abuse. Even though there may be temporary relief with alcohol regarding mental health, over time these symptoms can get worse, causing people to drink more and creating a vicious cycle of alcohol dependence.
When Is It Time for Alcohol Treatment?
Some people forgo getting abuse and addiction help because they have not hit rock bottom. However, the sooner you get help for alcohol use disorder, the easier alcohol and drug abuse rehab will be. Some signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse and addiction to look for include:
- Desire to quit but unable to
- Alcohol withdrawals
- Problems with work, school or relationships
- Loss of interest in other activities
- Lack of control
- Dangerous use
- Spending a lot of time trying to get alcohol
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse and are unable to stop, it may be time to get help from a drug abuse treatment center. Sylvan Detox offers multiple levels of abuse and addiction treatment to help anyone at any point in their alcohol use disorder. Please give us a call today, our addiction specialists can help guide you on the next steps.
Why Choose Sylvan Detox for Alcohol Detox Near Me
Sylvan Detox in Woodland Hills CA offers luxury detox for all types of substance abuse issues. Our inpatient rehab includes individualized treatment plans created by medical staff to ensure your safety and comfort during withdrawals from drugs and alcohol. As a luxury recovery center, you will have access to top-rated addiction treatment programs in a residential home with all the comforts of home and more. Sylvan Detox incorporates dual diagnosis programming when co-occurring disorders are present to increase the likelihood of long-term addiction recovery. If you or a loved one have been struggling with substance abuse, drug and alcohol rehab at Sylvan Detox can help you get on the road to recovery.