Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?

Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells

Well, since our childhood, we all have been hearing this from our parents and certain teachers that we should not drink alcohol as consumption may result in the killing of the brain cells. These words from certain people made us think that it is true, but experts say that through the consumption of alcohol, your brain gets damaged, but the brain cells aren’t killed in the process.

You feel certain impairments and convulsions or spasms after drinking, and this leads to the conclusion that either one or two of your brain cells have been killed due to excessive drinking, but in reality, no such thing happens. We can find no clear evidence of it. The only thing which happens is long-lasting or prolonged damage to the brain which causes the blockage of nerves, and ultimately, the body starts working involuntarily and is impaired.

Effects for a Short Period of Time

Alcohol is also called a neurotoxin which can affect your brain instantly, either in a direct or indirect way. The instant you take in the alcohol or consume it, it rushes towards the bloodstream and reaches your brain within 5 minutes. After like 10 minutes of drinking, the drinker can start to feel the symptoms or effects of alcohol, like relaxation, happiness, sociability, etc. This is just in case you have taken a moderate shot of drinking, as mentioned above.

Meanwhile, if you are a Binge or Heavy drinker, the alcoholic consumption can start to indulge or interfere in the communication of the brain, in the pathways of communication, and sometimes also in the processing of the information taken through the nerves of the brain. Through this, one might change his mood or behavior, have difficulty concentrating, might have coordination impairments of poor coordination, slurry speech, and feel confused for a short period of time.

Poisoning Through Alcohol

Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells

Binge drinking can also lead to the poisoning of alcohol. This is a very dangerous state as it can affect the communication pathways by entering the bloodstream of the drinker and possess the whole brain functions and alter them. This poisoning can also alter your basic life functions like taking a breath, your body temperature, and the rate of the heart. A short-term heavy drinker can lose his life too by the alterations the poisoning causes to the body at the very instant of the consumption.

This can be life-threatening as you can have breathing problems. You might not be able to get the proper level of oxygen required by the body. 19.5% is the amount of oxygen required for a normal human being to survive. Heavy drinkers face the unsaturation of oxygen, due to which they face breathing issues.

Other than this, the body temperature is normal is 37.5°C. Sweating takes place in order to maintain the body temperature. Due to heavy drinking, excessive sweating takes place and cools the body to a level not required for a human body. Moreover, the number of heartbeats that are normal for a person per minute is 60-100. The rate of heartbeats also alters due to excessive drinking or alcoholic poisoning.

Long-Lasting Effects of Alcohol

Does Alcohol Kill Brain Cells

Excessive drinking or people who consume an extra amount of alcohol can face fatal outcomes and get a major setback or health disaster. They can result in various problems like a decrease in cognitive functioning and sometimes temporary or permanent issues with memory. A person might start forgetting very basic or habitual things that he has used to do in abundance before. Some of the fatal outcomes or the long-lasting effects of consuming alcohol are listed below

1. Atrophy of the Brain

It has been known for a very long time that brain atrophy is caused in patients or drinkers who take in a heavy amount of alcohol, and this causes the shrinking of the brain. But since 2017, it has been observed that moderate drinkers can also have brain atrophy or shrinkage of the brain. The consumption of alcohol can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain connected with reasoning and memory. Ultimately, the drinker gets unable to memorize things and think.

2. Issues of Neurogenesis

Even though Alcohol doesn’t kill the cells of the brain but can have long-lasting harmful effects on the brain in a negative way. If you are a starter or a new drinker, too much or heavy consumption can interfere with neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is a term used for the process or ability of the body to make new brain cells. This means that you’ll be left with only the old damaged brain cells without the formation of new ones.

3. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Heavy drinkers give rise to a deficiency of thiamine, causing a neurological disorder known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Once you get affected by the syndrome, the syndrome, not the alcohol, results in the loss of the neurons residing in the brain, which causes confusion, loss of memory, and loss in the coordination of the muscles. This can be fatal as a person can get impairments of movements, speech, etc. 

Basics of Drinking

Not all types of drinking get you into massive disasters of the brain and impairments. There are three types of drinking which include; Moderate drinking (having 1 glass of drink or alcohol per day for females and 1-2 glass of drink or alcohol for males), the second one is Heavy drinking (drinking 3 glasses of alcohol per day or 8 in a week for females and more than 4 glass a day and 14 glass per week for males) and the third one is the Binge drinking (4 drink glass within the period of 2 hours for females and 5 drink glass within the period of 2 hours for males).


This concludes that even if the brain cells aren’t killed by alcohol, they’re still affected in various ways that can lead to very unhealthy lifestyles. A person who is a drinker can get recurrent impairments and losses of concentration, memory, reasoning, etc. Our parents and teachers forbid us in childhood because they were aware of all the symptoms and wanted us to live a healthy life by not even touching these harmful, life-threatening drugs.

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