It’s no secret that there’s a relationship between alcohol and decision-making. Most people know that alcohol use lowers inhibitions, leading people to say and do things that they usually wouldn’t. When alcohol use turns into dependence, alcohol addiction treatment for professionals can get you back on track.
BoardPrep Recovery Center® offers alcohol abuse detox and treatment. Our programs are designed to fit the schedule of working professionals so you can get the care you need without it impacting your career.
Call 866.796.4720 today to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment at BoardPrep Recovery Center®.
The Relationship Between Alcohol and Decision-Making
Alcohol use impacts decision-making for several reasons. First, the impact of alcohol on the brain draws a person into the present moment. The ability to consider the costs and benefits of something is suspended, and people often immediately act on whatever impulse they experience.
This is why alcohol use can lead to outcomes like:
- Aggressive behavior
- Sexually risky behavior
- Physical injuries
- Socially embarrassing situations
- Legal issues
Alcohol doesn’t just lower inhibitions and increase impulsivity. In fact, it stops the part of the brain that makes judgment calls from functioning as it normally does.
This means that alcohol doesn’t just impact decision-making—it distorts a person’s sense of judgment, which they rely on to make smart decisions. This is a key reason why people drive drunk or make other dangerous choices while drinking.
How Alcohol Impacts the Brain
Fully understanding why alcohol seriously impacts decision-making requires understanding what alcohol does to a person’s brain and central nervous system.
Small amounts of alcohol can have a stimulating effect. This is why some people are in high spirits after a few drinks. However, alcohol is a depressant. Whether it’s too much drinking on a night out or regular alcohol dependence, the alcohol eventually begins suppressing the nervous system.
Alcohol use causes physiological functions like heart and breathing rates to slow down. At the same time, alcohol significantly impacts a person’s brain chemistry. Alcohol moves through the blood-brain barrier to directly interrupt normal brain function.
When alcohol interacts with the brain, cognitive abilities are altered. When heavy alcohol use is occasional, a person may be lucky enough not to experience long-term effects. However, occasional alcohol abuse often increases in frequency until a person has developed a dependence on alcohol, which is bad news for long-term brain function and health.
The Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse
The effects of long-term alcohol abuse are even more serious than the short-term effects. While short-term abuse impacts brain function while drinking and for a while afterward, regular alcohol abuse can permanently change the structure and function of the brain.
Long-term alcohol abuse changes the neurons in the brain. Ongoing alcohol abuse can also cause the brain to shrink. Common cognitive symptoms associated with the long-term abuse of alcohol include:
- Lapses in memory
- Brain disorders
- Additional brain damage caused by thiamine deficiency
- Development of an alcohol use disorder
The effects of long-term alcohol abuse on the brain are directly related to a person’s ability to stop drinking. The longer a person misuses alcohol, the harder it becomes for them to refrain from drinking.
Get Help with Alcohol Abuse at BoardPrep Recovery Center®
Short-term misuse of alcohol typically leads to a full recovery. However, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse are usually irreversible. Even if a person gets professional help and is able to maintain recovery from alcohol dependence, the impacts on brain function and health can be irreversible.
This means getting help with alcohol dependence as soon as possible is the best way to reduce the likelihood of long-term effects on cognitive function.
If your alcohol use has gotten out of control, the programs at BoardPrep Recovery Center® can help. Call 866.796.4720 today to learn more about alcohol abuse treatment at BoardPrep Recovery Center®.