February 10, 2011
How Alcohol Abuse Causes Brain Damage
Alcohol abuse affects the body in many ways. In the brain’s case, the effects can be devastating and permanent. Long term alcohol abuse has been shown in many brain studies to actually physically shrink the portion of the brain that controls the memory and learning functions. This decrease in area is most apparent in the cortex of the frontal lobe, which is the center of higher intellectual functions. The shrinkage of these areas will continue to grow with continued drinking and with age. The first noticeable sign of alcohol associated damage is short-term memory loss.
A five year study that performed periodic imaging in alcoholics showed progressive brain shrinkage over the study span. Not only did the test show the level of brain shrinkage was directly correlated to the amount of consumed alcohol, but that the shrinkage was dramatically increased beyond anything in normal range.
Alcohol related brain damage possibly affect any alcoholic who consumes large amounts of alcohol over a period of time. Factors that determine the severity of the damage are the system of the drinker, the type and amount of alcohol consumed and the overall diet of the drinker.
Nutritional problems caused by alcohol consumption can also contribute to brain damage. If the individual drinks enough alcohol, malnutrition can actually be a result. Vital parts of the brain suffer damage due to vitamin deficiencies, particularly thiamine deficiency. Alcohol causes toxicity in the system during and after use, which damages vital organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys and pancreas.
The central nervous system also falls victim to the effects of alcohol.
If caught early enough, much of the alcohol damage can possibly be reversed and can sometimes disappear entirely. This reversal can be best supported by a complete abstinence from alcohol, an improved diet and by taking vitamins, especially B1 and thiamine. In addition, there is a vitamin called milk thistle that can ever help restore liver functions.