The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

The Effects of alcohol on the brain even hours after consumptionWhen many people get together with friends or co-workers, that time is spent enjoying a cold beer or cocktail. This could be for the big game, a dinner date or just to unwind after a long day. We all know how the alcohol affects us as it is being consumed. Most of us also realize that accomplishing certain tasks while under the influence is more difficult than when we are sober. The part most people don’t think about is how alcohol affects the brain after the “buzz” wears off.

The latest research was a combination of several studies that focused on the brain hours after a heavy night of drinking. As you can guess the findings showed attention, memory and other cognitive functions are suppressed even after a measurable amount of alcohol has left the body. The poor focus, lack of concentration, slowed reaction time and cloudy memory is all a result of the poisonous chemical alcohol. The CDC defines heavy drinking as 4 drinks for a woman and 5 for a man. Alcohol is a diuretic that causes the body to loose 4 times the amount of liquid drank. This leads to serious dehydration and a strain on the body. In order to compensate our organs take in as much fluid possible to function. Sadly, this leaves the brain fighting to stay hydrated. The result is shrinkage of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. Within the fluid leaving our body is sodium, potassium, and magnesium. All of which are vital for cognitive function. This can leave the brain fighting to perform for hours or even days. Anyone who has consumed too much alcohol can attest to the “hangover” period that comes the following day. In the end, drinking large amounts of alcohol is bad for your body at the time of consumption and for hours to days after the fact.

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