Addiction Treatment

Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?

Written By:

Becky Babb

woman drinks a shot which brings up the question does alcohol kill brain cells

Alcohol is one of the most widely abused psychoactive substances worldwide. Alcohol is a fixture at many culturally significant events, like weddings and major sports events. Also, alcohol is a type of central nervous system depressant, which results in calming effects. Additionally, alcohol also can cause severe liver disease, memory loss, and cardiovascular problems. But, does alcohol kill brain cells?

Central nervous system depressants lower your blood pressure and heart rate, which makes substances like alcohol extremely dangerous when taken in excess. Alcohol poisoning requires emergency medical intervention and can cause serious complications, including death. When you become physically dependent on alcohol, you can experience intense and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Alcohols effect on the brain and the consequences of heavy, long-term use can be dire. Finding an accredited, high-quality alcohol rehab will help you detox and begin learning to live without alcohol.

Does is Really Kill Brain Cells When You Drink Alcohol?

So, does alcohol kill brain cells? In fact, alcohol can create cognitive impairments and memory loss. If you consume too much alcohol at one time, you may experience prolonged blackouts. Abusing alcohol can result in serious medical and mental health problems, including:

  • Physical and psychological dependency
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Heart and liver damage
  • Depression, anxiety, and mood changes
  • Significant weight changes
  • Personal, employment, and legal issues

While alcohol does cause cognitive impairments, such as memory problems, alcohol does not kill brain cells. However, alcohols effects on the brain are pronounced. Alcohol damages the ends of neurons called dendrites. When damaged, it changes the way your brain cells are able to communicate. While brain cells themselves aren’t damaged from alcohol use and abuse, it does impact your brain’s ability to properly communicate with the rest of your body. Alcohol addiction treatment considers these effects, and targeted therapies help you deal with the emotional and cognitive elements of addiction while your brain heals itself.

Alcoholics are more likely to develop certain neurological conditions, which can be caused by things like head trauma or malnourishment. A lack of thiamine can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which can cause memory problems and amnesia.

How is Alcoholism Treated?

Alcoholism can result in extremely dangerous withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. Delirium tremens, which can occur during alcohol withdrawal, can cause psychosis, tremors, and confusion. Alcohol withdrawal can even, in some cases, lead to death. Thus, the first step of alcohol treatment must begin with medical alcohol detox at an accredited facility, staffed by medical professionals.

Although withdrawal symptoms are severe, they are preventable. Many medications can eliminate the risks posed by alcohol withdrawal. Following detox, you can choose to continue treatment by enrolling in an inpatient or outpatient rehab program.

Inpatient programs offer the highest level of care and regular access to medical and mental health staff. Some inpatient programs may offer treatment for more than 90 days, while most last for 28 days. Outpatient programs can allow you to continue working while receiving treatment. Peer-led support groups like AA can also help you during recovery.

Let’s Overcome a Drinking Problem Together

If you are wondering does alcohol kill brain cells, the answer is no. However, alcohol abuse can cause severe cognitive impairments and organ damage. If you or a loved one is battling a drinking problem or alcoholism, The Last Resort, a premier substance abuse treatment provider, is here to help. Call us today today to learn more about our programs and your treatment options.

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