Psychological Effects Of Alcohol

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Alcohol is socially accepted by many and as such is the first thing people will go for when at a social event or gathering. The main drive behind having a drink for many is to simply have a good time. It is the number one choice in a long list of substances that can make a person feel intoxicated and give them that feeling of high. Although being far more lenient in its first-time effects when compared to other drugs such as nicotine, many people inaccurately believe that it is far more difficult to become addicted to alcohol. However, the brain’s reward pathways are rarely subjected to our direct and voluntary control. Once the brain senses a certain activity giving it pleasure, it will then rewire itself in such a way that makes the person …show more content…
Commonly consumed alcohol is known as ethanol with different alcoholic beverages containing different amounts of it. Ethanol depresses brain functions and at low blood concentration levels unleashes behaviors that are otherwise obstructed (Banerjee 2014). This typically produces feelings of relaxation and puts the subject in a good mood which may prompt an increase in socialization (Banerjee 2014). However, even low quantities of alcohol can affect the ability of the hippocampus to process information, which in turn impairs the formation of memories (Tapert, 2008). Higher doses of alcohol affect the brain even further by inducing intoxication where the individual may experience temporary loss of coordination and judgment. On average, heavy adolescent drinkers appear to have smaller sizes of the hippocampus and portions of the frontal lobes (Medina et al., 2008; Medina, Schweinsburg, Cohen-Zion, Nagel, and Tapert, 2007). The overall size and shape of brain structures have been recorded as being abnormal in chronic heavy drinkers. According to A. Pfefferbaum, “the overall amount of gray matter (brain cells) and white matter (cabling between the cells) are reduced especially in the frontal lobes, which are key parts of the brain for planning, withholding responses, making decisions, and regulating emotions (Tapert, 2008).” Additionally, white matter is essential for relaying information within the brain itself, and the quality of white matter tracts appears poorer in chronic heavy drinking adults (Pfefferbaum, Adalsteinsson, & Sullivan,

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