Alcoholism is a widespread problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, at least 17 million Americans are suffering from alcoholism. In addition, nearly 90,000 people die as a result of alcohol-related causes. It’s a major issue that affects people of all ages and walks of life. In addition to ruining careers, relationships, and the lives of its victims and loved ones, alcoholism endangers the mind.
Alcoholism and Its Effects on the Mind
Alcohol actually poisons the mind. It gets in the way of communication patterns in the brain, altering the way the brain functions for victims of alcoholism. The more people drink, the harder it is to think clearly or move with proper coordination. Reaction times are affected and the whole body may not move effectively because the nervous system is affected as well. The brain is in charge of sending out messages to the rest of the body and is in charge of all vital functions. As a depressant, alcohol slows everything down and can be absolutely devastating.
Short-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Look at a an alcoholic after a recent binge and you’ll see someone who has trouble putting one foot in front of the other. Talking may become a major challenge as speech becomes slurred. Blurred vision is common as well. One or two drinks could bring about these effects due to alcohol’s impact on the brain. However, for the chronic, heavy drinker, the effects on the brain are dramatic.
Chronic Drinking and the Brain
Victims of alcoholism are addicts. They must have a drink every day, usually many times a day, simply to get by. They have a physical and mental dependency on this easily obtainable, legal drug. They need more and more to get the same kind of effects, causing damage to the brain that is considerable and irreparable. Blackouts are one of the most common effects of binge drinking, a sign of acute intoxication. When blackouts occur, alcoholics actually lose periods of their lives, experiencing times when they have no idea what happened or where they were. They’ve lost consciousness and shut down for a period of time. Loss of memory is common as well for alcoholics, a problem that can become severe.
Brain Damage and Serious Brain Disorders Due to Alcoholism
Chronic use of alcohol on a regular basis can actually result in permanent brain damage as the brain is actually altered by drug use. Alcoholism can also result in Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome. When victims suffer from this condition, they could experience a gamut of symptoms, including confusion, paralysis of the eyes, and lack of physical coordination. In the most serious form of this disorder, alcoholics could actually develop a form of psychosis that results in learning disabilities, cognitive dysfunction, and memory loss.
Alcoholism is a Mental Trap
For those who suffer from alcoholism, they become victims of a mental trap. The alcohol actually causes a chemical reaction in the brain, changing the way the brain functions, changing the way a person thinks and acts, affecting moods, and creating undeniable cravings. When alcohol takes over a person’s body, it controls the mind, making an alcoholic his or her own worst enemy. The only thing an alcoholic can see is the need to get more alcohol and fulfill that empty pit inside. Go without alcohol and the mental cravings are fierce, not to mention the physical effects on the body.
Ending the Damaging Effects of Alcohol in the Brain
In order to stop the potentially damaging effects of alcohol on the brain, there is only one answer. Alcoholics need to find their way to sobriety. They need to stop using alcohol, stay away from alcohol, and find other strategies to deal with life’s problems. While many alcoholics realize they have a problem, many are overwhelmed and do not know where to begin to find their way on the path to recovery. In order to break the hold of alcohol on their lives and brains, they need to turn to others for help. Recovery is possible, but shouldn’t happen alone. Help is available.
Victims of Alcoholism Can Find Help
In order to find an end to alcoholism, it’s essential to find a support network. An alcoholic needs to get away from negative influences and enablers. The best way to do so is to be surrounded by positive forces, such as friends and family who only want to help. In addition to that, professional resources are available. From support groups to inpatient services, alcoholics have many options to become free from alcohol abuse, make healthy choices, and reverse damages that have happened in the brain. It is possible to be free and live a sober life.