For years, people have talked about the idea that drinking large amounts of alcohol kills brain cells. However, few people actually know if it’s true or just a rumor. Does alcohol kill brain cells? Before you learn the answer, take a look at how alcohol affects the brain. At Victory Bay, we can show you how addiction recovery works with our programs.
How Does Alcohol Interact With the Brain?
When you drink alcohol, you start to feel good and possibly more outgoing. This effect is thanks, in part, to alcohol interacting with receptors in the brain. Specifically, it interacts with the dopamine, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is responsible for sending messages from the brain to the nervous system.
In short, alcohol disrupts how the brain communicates with the rest of the body. In most cases, it simply slows down the transmission and reception of these signals. This disruption causes the slurred speech and slow reactions that occur after heavy drinking.
Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?
Believe it or not, drinking doesn’t lead to the death of brain cells. In fact, some research suggests that drinking in moderation has healthful benefits. Some of these benefits include lower cholesterol levels and improved cognitive abilities.
To illustrate, one study compared neurons between drinkers and nondrinkers. The result was no difference between the two groups. Also, the study found that even heavy drinking doesn’t kill brain cells.
Why Do People Think That Alcohol Kills Brain Cells?
Some experts believe that this mix-up came from the relationship between alcohol and GABA receptors. Alcohol prevents GABA receptors from functioning properly, which hinders communication between brain cells. As a result, the general population may have developed the idea that alcohol kills brain cells. On the other hand, it’s possible that adults created the idea to scare children away from drinking.
Does That Mean It’s Safe to Drink Heavily?
Despite these findings, it’s still unsafe to drink alcohol in large amounts. While drinking doesn’t kill brain cells, large amounts of alcohol cause brain damage. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause many neurological disorders, such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This disorder can lead to amnesia, memory problems and lack of muscle coordination.
Also, alcohol interferes with the development of new brain cells. In the past, experts didn’t believe that adults grow new brain cells. However, they’ve found that adults still grow new neurons in certain areas of the brain. Unfortunately, alcohol suppresses the growth of these neurons.
Get Help for Alcohol Abuse
Does alcohol kill brain cells? No, but that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t seek treatment for alcohol abuse. Abusing this drug can cause brain damage and ruin people’s lives. At Victory Bay, we can show you how addiction recovery works with our programs, which include:
Don’t let alcohol control or destroy your life. Learn more about the answer to the question: Does alcohol kill brain cells? Reach out to us today for help at 855.259.1624.