how does alcohol intoxicate you?


how does alcohol intoxicate you?

In: Biology

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and it slows the synapses (or communications) between your neurons which are the cells that make up your brain and spinal cord. The feeling of intoxication from alcohol is the combined effect of this reduced communication in all the important structures in your brain.

The cerebral cortex is the higher-level part of our brains that is used in complex thoughts, problem solving, rationalizing, etc. When these neurons slow in communication from intoxication, it affects the ability to form these complex thoughts which might be why some people don’t think before they act or they struggle to have an intelligent conversation.

The hippocampus is important for the formation of memories which is why getting moderately drunk might make your memory fuzzy of the night before, and getting overly drunk could keep you from forming any memories at all which is “blacking out.”

The hypothalamus is involved with your body’s many hormones, some of which control your hunger, thirst, and even heart rate. When these synapses are affected, it can make you more hungry or less, more thirsty or less, or increase your heartrate.

The cerebellum regulates many basic function like movement and balance, overall coordination, and your body’s reflexes. This makes you struggle to walk and balance properly, makes your overall movements clumsy and less coordinated, and slow to react when these neuron synapses are affected.

The medulla oblongata contributes to regulating body temperature and breathing, so intoxication here can leave you feeling very warm and/or cause you to breath slower.

Alcohol also tickles the dopamine receptors causing you to feel good, happy, and sometimes energetic while in effect.

Because alcohol slows your neurons’ communication all throughout the nervous system, this can essentially affect every part of you (physically, mentally, and emotionally) to some level, and all that combines to create the feeling of intoxication.