How does alcohol affect your brain
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Isn’t it amazing how light and relaxed you feel after a glass of wine or a cold can of beer? Like, do you ever wonder what actually goes on in your head and why you do what you do after drinking? 

Well, today you’ll know!

The Brain & Nervous System Duo

When it comes to those wild or weird things you catch yourself doing while drinking, don’t forget to acknowledge the dynamic duo responsible for it: the brain & the central nervous system. 

Your brain and central nervous system (CNS) are like Batman and Robin of your body, responsible for everything from thinking and feeling to moving and breathing. The brain, your body’s control centre, communicates with the rest of your body through the central nervous system, which includes the spinal cord. 

Together, they ensure that your body operates like a well-coordinated team, allowing you to experience and navigate the world around you.

Now that you know who’s calling the shots behind the scenes, let’s explore how does alcohol affect the brain and central nervous system.

Cheers to Absorption

Image from Freepik

When you take that first sip of your favourite alcoholic beverage, a whole adventure begins. Like a sneaky little ninja, alcohol makes its way into your bloodstream through your stomach and small intestine. 

This swift journey happens because alcohol molecules are tiny enough to pass through the walls of your stomach and intestines, allowing them to quickly enter your bloodstream and hitch a ride to the brain, where they interact with your brain cells and trigger a cascade of effects.

Tipsy Transformation

Now that alcohol has entered the brain’s VIP party, things start to get interesting. Alcohol messes with the brain’s natural chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters. 

One neurotransmitter, called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), gets a boost from alcohol. GABA is the brain’s chill pill—it helps you relax and keeps anxiety at bay. 

That’s why a drink or two might make you feel more laid-back.

But wait, there’s more! Alcohol also messes with another neurotransmitter called glutamate, which usually keeps your brain alert and active. Alcohol puts a damper on glutamate, which is why you might start to feel a bit drowsy.

Hello, Hangover!

Remember that fun party happening in your brain? Well, the morning after, you might not be so thrilled about it. As the night unfolds and you enjoy those drinks, alcohol plays a sneaky trick on your body. 

It has a knack for disrupting your body’s fluid balance, which leads to dehydration. Your body, in response, works tirelessly to process this unexpected intruder, diverting resources and causing your blood vessels to expand. This expansion triggers headaches – that pounding sensation that greets you the morning after.

But that’s not all.
Alcohol also wreaks havoc on the quality of your sleep. While you sleep, your body is in repair mode, mending and rejuvenating itself. However, alcohol’s presence diverts your body’s attention. Your liver is hard at work, breaking down the alcohol molecules, and in the process, it generates byproducts that contribute to sleep disturbances. This is why, even after a full night’s sleep, you wake up feeling groggy and tired.

Moderation Matters

Hey, just a heads up – having a drink or two does give you a little pick-me-up, but going overboard can seriously mess with your brain and nervous system. 

Too much booze can damage your nerve cells, which can cause memory problems, trouble concentrating, and even mess with your mood. 

So, if you’re going to drink, make sure to keep it in moderation to avoid screwing up your brain power in the long run.

The Developing Brain

Image by Freepik

Hey, teens and young adults, listen up! Your brain is still a work in progress until your mid-20s. Introducing alcohol to a developing brain can mess with its natural growth and connectivity, potentially leading to long-term cognitive issues. 

So, it’s best to wait until your brain is fully cooked before indulging in alcoholic adventures.

Seeking Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, it’s crucial to seek help. Alcohol addiction is a medical condition, and there’s no shame in asking for assistance. 

Reach out to healthcare professionals, therapists, or support groups who can provide guidance and support on the journey to recovery.


From the initial absorption to the tipsy transformation and even the dreaded hangover, alcohol profoundly impacts your brain and central nervous system. 

Now that you know how does alcohol affect the brain and central nervous system, Remember that moderation is key! – Take it as a tip from an experienced drinker.


Brain Behind The Words

Kabir Dutt


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One thought on “Brain & Booze: How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain and Central Nervous System?

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