Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Central Nervous System
Chronic alcohol consumption can have many negative effects on the body and dramatically impairs brain development. Long term alcohol abuse causes dementia, physical dependence and the shrinkage of the brain. While there is some evidence that suggests that alcohol consumption in a low to moderate manner can have some positive health benefits the literature to support such findings is slim and therefore still inconclusive.
Alcohol abuse has been associated with a condition in the brain in which lesions result in brain damage. Long term alcohol abuse can result in lifelong damage to the brain due to toxic levels of alcohol being introduced to the brain. Additionally, alcohol abuse causes a chemical dependency within the brain in which the alcoholic must drink more in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms including headache, shakes and other uncomfortable or even dangerous conditions. Liver damage that results from long term alcohol abuse can also contribute to brain damage as well.
When alcohol is abused the long term effects on the development of the brain are also seen. Alcohol abuse can impair the normal development of the brain resulting in various verbal and non verbal communication impairments when young adolescents take part in heavy binge drinking. Additionally, binge drinking also interferes with the development of new brain cells which can result in myopathy, peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy, three distinct dysfunctions of the central nervous system.
Cognitively, long term alcohol abuse can impair memory and ultimately result in dementia. People who abuse alcohol on a long term basis may forget to do certain things such as forgetting to lock the door or forgetting to pay a bill. Over time these forgetful events may happen more often and closer together. The more alcohol is consumed and the longer the period of time it is consumed the more likely this type of cognitive impairment is and the worse off it will be.
Ultimately, alcohol abuse can cause the most severe and common form of dementia that is Alzheimer’s disease. This deadly disease results from a decline in cognitive function and leads to severe memory loss and ultimately leads to death of the individual. Despite some studies that suggest alcohol may help to reduce chances of Alzheimer’s disease most findings support the fact that moderate alcohol consumption does not do anything to help prevent Alzheimer’s and actually causes impaired brain function as well as dementia.