People who struggle with alcoholism demonstrate changes in the brain’s ability called ‘executive function.’ This part of the brain controls memory, reasoning, and problem solving. Learn more about how drinking too much over time, and heavily, can permanently change how the brain functions.
When a person drinks heavily, the alcohol consumption levels threaten a person’s ability to safely process alcohol, which can have a toxic effect when present above certain amounts. Commonly accepted public health and medical standards place the limit for safe drinking at four drinks or less in a day for men and less than 14 drinks in a week. Women are about the same, hovering at three drinks or less in a day and seven or less drinks in a week. People who surpass the limits for safe drinking in a single sitting are considered to be binge drinking.
The brain’s executive function gets its name because it plays the same basic role in human consciousness that an executive or boss would play at a company or corporation. In the context of the brain, this includes tasks like keeping track of memories, making judgments about situations, and using past and current experiences as guideposts for future decisions. Children usually strengthen executive function skills as part of the normal process of growth and development. In children and adults, impairment of these skills can have serious consequences including:
- Reduced ability to make or recall memories
- Reduced ability to use available information appropriately
- Reduced ability to form judgments
- Reduced ability to control short-term, impulsive urges and behaviors
Heavy Drinking Impact
The ability to maintain and focus attention, think flexibly, and control impulsive behaviors are not the only impacts from heavy drinking. Researchers have looked at the frequency of alcohol consumption and the overall level of consumption over a year to determine the true impact on a person’s brain. The damages of the effects of heavy drinking impact people across education levels, age, and regardless of other drug use. Over the life span, a person can experience many detrimental effects from heavy drinking on their overall health and well-being.
The Springboard Center’s addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each client. We will help address the issues in your mind and with your body following years of heavy drinking or drug use. We are here to support your journey to recovery with services including individual and group work with others in recovery. 432-620-0255