Ask the guy who is sitting in jail because he got drunk and streaked across the field at the baseball game last night, he will tell you that alcohol affects the brain. While he knows that it does affect the brain, he may not necessarily know exactly how it affects the brain. When you drink alcohol it affects a number of parts in your brain, each with a different function. It also affects each of these parts in a different way.
Alcohol Affects the Cerebral Cortex
Alcohol alters your brain more when it affects the Cerebral Cortex more than anywhere else. For example ETOH abuse symptoms, alcohol effects reaching the Cerebral Cortex leads to impaired judgement, which would be what the guy who streaked across the field experienced. It also leads to a person being more confident, which could be a positive or a negative thing. As most people know alcohol decreases your senses of pain, but most people don’t know that this was because it affected the Cerebral Cortex which controls these things.
Chances are you have heard someone complaining because they couldn’t remember what they did the night before while drinking. This is because the alcohol that they consumed had an effect on their Limbic System. The Limbic system is responsible for a person’s memory and emotions. This is why a person also may tend to be more emotional than usual when drunk.
Alcohol has an interesting effect on your Hypothalamus as well. The Hypothalamus is the part of your body that influences your brains amount of hormones. When alcohol affects this, it leads to an increased sex drive. The ironic part of this whole process is that though it leads to an increased sex drive, it also leads to reduced sexual performance.
The Medulla controls a lot of the body’s involuntary functions like heart rate and breathing. When the alcohol you consume starts to affect the Medulla, you may start to feel drowsy as a result. This is nothing to really worry about unless you drink a lot more after this state. Obviously if the Medulla controls involuntary functions, and too much alcohol effects them, then you could end up dieing.
Knowing all of these things allows you to be a much more responsible, and safe drinker. If you know how alcohol can affect your brain it makes it much easier to know the signs of when you should quit drinking. It could end up saving your life.
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm – Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the Brain