PSYC 108 Writing for the Behavioral Sciences
Instructor: Amy Parmenter Barber, Psy. D.
The Effects that Alcohol Plays on the Brain
Alcoholism is still one of the major health problems in the Western Society. Most of us have witnessed the outward signs of heavy drinking and intoxication: the staggering walk, slurred speech and memory lapses. People who have been drinking tend to have trouble finding their balance, judgment and coordination. They tend to react slowly to things happening in their environment. These physical and behavior signs happen because of the way that alcohol affects the brain and central nervous system. Although most of these are just temporary and a person’s behavior and abilities will return to normal once they cease drinking. However what people do not know is that these changes can be permanent and unchangeable of one continues to drink heavily on a daily basis. During the last two decades, research has provided evidence that long-term heavy drinking causes significant brain abnormalities (Goldstein, 2012). R. Rayback formulated a theory simply known as the “Continuum Theory” which states that a person’s cognitive function disappears in general according to the length of his/her drinking history (Rayback, 1971).
The reasoning behind the Continuum theory is that middle to moderate impairments of alcohol would be a neurotoxin affect not restricted to a specific brain area but affecting the whole brain. What this simply means is that long term alcohol use leads to brain injury or Alcohol Related Brain Injury (ARBI). ARBI is a term often used to describe the damage alcohol has done to the brain. This only happens when the alcohol consumption has been done in prolonged excessive amounts. People who tend to drink in excess run the risk of deleterious effects of how one copes with normal day to day activities. Sadly, to say ARBI is not a topic...
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