How Drinking Alcohol Affects the Brain

Posted By: Tony Baratta | July 3rd, 2020

I’m Tony Baratta. Today, I wanted to discuss the effects that alcohol has on your brain.


Alcohol affects your brain in stages

Alcohol affects your brain in stages, depending on how much you’re drinking. When you first begin drinking, it affects your frontal lobe, your decision making, and your impulse control.

Then, as you drink more, it affects your midbrain. Your midbrain is the portion of the brain that controls your emotions. And so you become more emotional. Maybe some of you have experienced that.


The brain stem

And then at the third stage, if you continue to drink even further, alcohol affects the brain stem. And the brain stem is the portion of the brain that affects things that we can’t control, like heart rate and blood pressure. It affects our swallowing. It affects the things that keep us alive.

And too much drinking can cause someone to actually become comatose and unconscious. Obviously, these are potentially fatal problems.


Special dangers for children

For children, alcohol is especially dangerous. It is said that the adult brain does not fully develop in boys and men until about age twenty-five and in women until about age twenty-two or twenty-three. And alcohol actually impedes the development of the brain.

So it’s especially dangerous for underage kids to be drinking alcohol regularly. Specifically, it affects the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is the portion of the brain that affects our ability to remember and our ability to learn. So when we are receiving information, it’s the hippocampus that is storing the information and allows us to remember what we’ve learned.


Avoid drinking in school

So if you’re in school, it’s important not to drink a great deal of alcohol, especially underage, while your brain is developing. That’s because you’re really affecting your ability to learn the things that are going to give you the kind of life that you want. And obviously, you’re in school because you want to achieve the most you possibly can in life.

My name is Tony Baratta, and I hope this has been helpful.



About the Author

Anthony J. Baratta (Tony) is a trial attorney. He has tried more than 50 cases to Juries in State and Federal Courts and has litigated thousands of personal injury and medical malpractice cases in his 30-year career. Tony is the founding partner of Baratta, Russell, & Baratta and an active board member of the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Association (BPIA). Tony is also on the board for the Philadelphia VIP and performs pro bono work for the Laurel House, a non-profit for victims of domestic abuse. In addition, Tony is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for trial attorneys, voted one of Philadelphia’s Super Lawyers for the past 14 years, and a 2018 recipient of the First Judicial District Pro Bono Award for the Civil Trial Division.

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