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Alcohol and It Effects on Brain Functioning Essay

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Updated: Jan 28th, 2021

Discuss the regions of the brain affected by alcohol. How does this drug alter brain chemistry?

Alcohol alters the normal functioning of the body system similar to any other drug. As commonly known, excessive alcohol consumption leads to addiction whereby the affected individual develops alcohol dependency syndrome. At this stage, the person who suffers from alcohol dependency craves more and more of it. Due to increased alcohol consumption, the brain as well as other sensitive parts of the body undergoes gross damage.

Additionally, the normal operation of the brain is also altered. Some of the brain parts affected by alcohol are the nucleus, accumbency, cerebral cortex, sub cortical areas such as the hypothalamus and the limbic system, the basal forebrain, and the cerebellum (Clapp, Hofmann & Behave, 2008). The limbic system of the brain is responsible for the expression of emotional feelings whereas the thalamus is responsible for the release of hormones in response to stimuli such as stress and the general behavior and psychological effects by communicating with the brain. The cerebral cortex of the brain is affected by the neurotoxic effects of alcoholism which causes a disease known as atrophy.

Deficiency of thiamine may equally result in damage to some portions of the hypothalamus due to breakages of the blood vessels. Worse still, alcoholism may lead to vulnerability of the frontal lobe. Neuropathological studies and neuroimaging show increased vulnerability of the frontal brain areas to alcoholism. Research by behavioral neuroscientists shows that the prefrontal cortex is of the brain is responsible for emotional, cognitive, and relational activities. It controls planning and regulates behavior by inhibiting the occurrence of unwanted actions and supports adaptive skills such as good judgment, tenacity behaviors, and problem–solving capabilities (Clapp, Hofmann & Behave, 2008).

What treatments did the individual seek? Were there any available at the time?

The individual in this story happened to have suffered serious brain damage in a construction site although there were no visible and serious signs at the time when the person was injured. He quickly went to the doctor and sought h medical attention. As time went by, the patient started behaving differently shifting from his initial known personality. The company which he was working for later refused to readmit him into the job.

The patient then went to New Hampshire where he worked at a stable, became a driver of coaches in Chile, and finally joined his family members in San Francisco in the United States at the place of his death aged thirty-six having experienced several seizures. During this time, the patient was the most popular in the field of neuroscience since his condition provided a link between the change in personality and brain trauma.

At the time of gage’s accident, no known established knowledge and correlation between brain damage may cause trauma as was the case for him when his lower frontal lobes were damaged alongside the effects of this damage on personality and behavior. This is why gage became the most famous patient since doctors took a lot of interest in his case and conducted more studies to establish the relationship between brain damage and behavior which he suffered (Twomey, 2010).

This attests to the reason why his photograph is preserved at the Harvard Medicine Museum library. It is also important to emphasize that there were no viable treatment options at that time to cater to the brain damage which he sustained.

References

Clapp, P., Hofmann, P.L. & Behave, S.V. (2008.) How adaptation of the brain to alcohol leads to dependence: A pharmacological perspective. Alcohol Research & Health, 31(4):310–339.

Twomey, S. (2010). An accident with a tamping iron made Pheneas gage history’s most famous brain-injury survivor. Web.

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