Alcohol causes difficulty walking, slurred speech, impaired memory, slowed reaction times and blurred vision. The effects of alcohol depend on how much was consumed and how frequently the person drinks. Alcohol and its effects on the human body and brain have been extensively researched and still a lot is not known.
Symptoms of Intoxication
Symptoms of intoxication include, irritability, euphoria, loss of physical coordination, inappropriate behavior, loss of balance, inability to walk straight, slurred speech, slow thinking, depression, impaired memory, loss of consciousness, blackouts, and hallucinations.
Memory lapses or blackouts can occur after only a few drinks. Blackouts are when intervals of time cannot be recalled by the person. The more someone drinks, the more likely that a blackout will occur. Binge drinking will also likely lead to a blackout. Binge drinking is drinking a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time. It is defined as five or more drinks in 2 hours for men and four or more for women. Drinking on an empty stomach can also heighten the effects of alcohol.
Other Effects on the Brain
Severe alcohol abuse can lead to all sorts of problems with the brain including brain damage as shown through brain shrinkage. Learning problems can also occur. The slowed reaction time is also a well known effect which often has tragic consequences when associated with driving.
Alcohol affects the entire body, not just the brain. Everyone has heard that it causes severe liver diseases such as Cirrhosis. Hepatic encephalopathy is a disease where liver problems affect the brain, changing sleep patterns, mood and even personality resulting in anxiety and depression and even coma. The two toxic substances associated with hepatic encephalopathy are ammonia and manganese.
One less well-known effect is called the Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome and this is caused by a deficiency in Thiamine or Vitamin B1 that is associated with alcohol abuse. The symptoms of this syndrome include mental confusion and nerve paralysis of the eyes. The symptoms can be so severe that the sufferer cannot even walk anymore. Alcohol also affects the heart muscle and can cause nerve damage.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Drinking during pregnancy can have severe physical, learning and behavioral results on the developing fetus.
Keep in mind that the effects of alcohol are individual. Everyone will react to alcohol differently and results in different levels of impairment. There is a good amount of concern on alcohol effects on the brain.