Alcoholism and brain damage

There is no denying the negative impact that alcohol can have on brain functioning in those who abuse it chronically long enough. Yet just what are the specific risks that can occur in a person that has spent much of adulthood under the influence of this popular substance? The goal is not to scare an alcoholic into sobriety, but to make them aware of the real dangers he or she could otherwise be facing. Whereas moderate drinking does not present serious health risks to a drinker, drinking excessively on a regular basis can indeed put one’s wellbeing and life at risk.


There are a number of factors that will determine how each individual case of alcoholism plays out. This can obviously include how often and how much a person drinks, as well as alcohol type. Other points include the age the person began drinking and how long it has progressed in a lifetime. Unfortunately, those who were exposed to alcohol before birth could face additional challenges due to the serious dangers involved in prenatal drinking, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


As any extreme alcoholic comes to know, one of the frankly scariest experiences associated with the disease is blackouts. In fact, enough alcohol will prevent the brain from forming new memories, according to Rational Recovery. The drinker will drink to excess, often including strong hard liquors to more quickly reach a drunken state. Yet those who do not know when to stop can drink to the point that he or she will black out. The dark reality is that if someone has drank to a sufficient degree, his or her life could be at risk. In the worst case scenario, consciousness could never be regained, especially if others neglect to contact emergency services. The person could vomit on themselves and even risk death by choking on it if they are not angled properly by others. Those that do awaken later could be concerned about events that they do not remember due to being heavily inebriated.

Developing new brain cells

In the 1960s, scientific research arrived at the conclusion that new neurons are indeed developed in adulthood and not just childhood, as detailed at According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, this process is known as neurogenesis. Animal studies have shown that high doses of alcohol have led to the growth of new brain cells to be negatively affected. Some scientists believe a theory that this could be related to changes in the hippocampus in the brains of heavy drinkers, for example.


Among other serious concerns, the quite real damage that alcohol can do to the brain is just one more reason why a severe alcoholic should consider treatment as soon as possible. Some could be embarrassed that they need professional help to stop drinking. Yet in the most pronounced cases, one could even become physically ill if they attempt to stop without a professional rehab setting. Swallowing one’s pride can actually be a life saver, as opposed to swallowing further amounts of alcohol that could lead to damaging illness or even death by alcohol poisoning. In some cases, an intervention could help a heavy drinker to realize just how serious their problem really is, not just for them but loved ones that are adversely affected as well.

Of course, even if the individual is able to achieve sobriety in treatment, there will need to be specific treatment modalities to ensure that it lasts in the long term. Avoid people and situations that are associated with alcohol could be essential to this. The temptation to drink could always arise and an alcoholic could try to bargain with themselves. Yet the attitude of attempting to believe that having one or two drinks only is possible can be a deadly one.

Florida Alcohol Addiction offers reliable and pertinent information on alcoholism, so those experiencing it, as well as friends and family, can have much improved odds of moving forward. For more information on how we can help you or a loved one get started today, please contact us at (866) 220-5381.

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