How Long Does It Take For Alcohol To Affect The Prefrontal Cortex?

How Long Does It Take For Alcohol To Affect The Brain?

Alcohol changes the way we behave, the decisions that we make, and inhibits our ability to control all of our behavior. Largely that is because alcohol interferes with the functions of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is one of the most responsible parts of our brains. Numerous functions which are part of our daily lives operate from the prefrontal cortex. When the prefrontal cortex is damaged or inhibited, we lose our ability to control our actions. Everything from our motor function to our spatial judgment to our use of rationale and reason get slighted, which is why we can act all kinds of foolish under the influence of alcohol.

Previously it was believed that each person metabolizes alcohol differently and that leads to differences in how they act or behave when intoxicated on alcohol. It turns out that for young men, who are in good health, it only takes two drinks for the prefrontal cortex to start being affected, thereby affecting behavior.

The University of New South Wales in Australia studied the behaviors of 50 younger men who were in good health after they consumed either two vodka drinks or a placebo beverage. After consuming alcohol, the young men were challenged to a competitive task which pitted them against a computer, which was programmed to test how quickly the men became aggressive. Part of the computer program’s functions was to deliberately try and provoke aggressive behavior.

Using MRI technology to read activity in the brain, researchers found that being provoked didn’t set any of the men off, regardless of whether or not they had consumed vodka. Aggressive behavior on the behalf of the men happened by choice and with interesting results in the brain. Men who had consumed the vodka drinks had less activity in their prefrontal cortex. Men who had consumed the placebo drink showed no change in the activity of the prefrontal cortex.

Though the study reveals a connection between drinking, prefrontal cortex activity, and the brain, it does not show causation, at least on the part of aggressive behavior. Drinking does not necessarily cause aggressive behavior. Consuming alcohol does, however, inhibit the functions of the prefrontal cortex and puts men at risk for poor decision making and unsightly behavior.
Recovery for men needs to be mind, body, and spirit. At Tree House Recovery we are building men from the ground up with sustainable changes to create a sustainable recovery. Call us today for information on our treatment programs and how we can help you find freedom from addiction:  (855) 202-2138

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