Alcohol’S Effects On The BrainPresentation Transcript
Alcohol’s Effects on the Brain PSY492 Advanced General Psychology Kayla Switzer (Sweeney) February 25, 2011
Introduction Alcohol has been a favorite pastime drink for years. Alcohol causes changes to behavior, brain’s functions, and the neurotransmitters. Some of the effects are immediate and some are long lasting.
Violence, especially domestic violence and child abuse, happens while one or more people are intoxicated. Most even believe they do not have a problem with alcohol.
There is a lot of data and research done on alcohol and its effects. It is considered the worst drug in the world, yet it is still legal. Most of the money spent in the medical and legal fields are related to alcohol abuse. Medical imaging has opened the door to understand what alcohol actually does to the brain.
Behavior Many people see intoxicated people as their best friend or a mean drunk. They can be the life of the party or the end of the party. Outrageous behavior can happen because a person has no inhibitions. People’s perceptions slow down and cause lack of coordination. This is why driving drunk is a very bad idea.
Memory Negative situations and emotions are recalled easier at the earlier stages, while positive situations and emotions are recalled in the later stages of intoxication. Most people do not remember what happened the night before while they were intoxicated.
Brain Structures The prefrontal cortex’s structure is changed through long-term use which leads to abnormal behavior visible to others. Cerebral blood flow increases while blood glucose decreases. Lower functioning of the thalamus and an increase in brain metabolism.
Positive and Negative Reinforcement While drinking, the parts of the brain associated with pleasure are activated. These areas motivate the person to keep drinking to keep feeling the pleasurable effects. When drinking stops, a person experiences negative effects; the next morning’s hangover. When a person has been drinking for many years, the “want” for alcohol becomes the “need” for alcohol.
Neurotransmitters Numerous neurotransmitters are effected; GABA, serotonin, and Dopamine are a few examples. They are either overexcited or inhibited by the alcohol. The bonding of the neurotransmitters to the neurons is either prevented or overwhelmed.
Conclusion Alcohol has many damaging effects to the physical brain and communications of the brain, alcohol addiction is started as a result of positive reinforcement and is maintained to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and different types of imaging technology should be used to study alcoholism and alcohol’s effects on the brain and the body. But is it?
Further Research Alcohol can cause aggressive behavior; how does alcohol interact in the brain, neurocommunication, and why do some people get violent while others do not? Research needs to be done to see whether it is the type of drink being drunk, genetics related to alcoholism and violent behavior, and if there is a way to prevent drinking and/or aggressive behavior. Research has shown addiction is from the positive effects of drinking alcohol
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