Alcohol Causes Brain Damage?


Yes, alcohol causes brain damage. Of course in small amounts it doesn’t generally cause any brain or other organ damage so occasional drinkers, or drinkers of only a small amount of alcohol is not expected to develop brain damage. In fact some authorities believe that consuming a small amount of alcohol especially on daily basis might even benefit our health, the incidence of stroke, heart attack etc might come down by regular usage of small amount of alcohol on regular basis. Certain types of wine are also believed to supply antioxidants and this might give additional benefit to our health.

While the benefits of chronic alcohol usage in small amounts seems to be true but this practice is still not accepted by every authority in this field, in otherwords even if it is generally believed that small amount of alcohol used on regular daily basis might benefit the health however there is no official recommendation in this regard from the doctors and health care experts. But when it comes to the ill effects of alcohol, more specifically the chronic alcohol abuse (consuming large amounts of alcohol for lengthy period of time) there is no controversy and every health authority agrees with it, in otherwords chronic heavy boozing may indeed cause health hazards like brain damage or other health conditions like alcohol induced liver cirrhosis etc.

Brain damage from alcohol

There are several alcohol related brain conditions as below;

• Dementia
• Cerebellar atrophy
• Marchiafava Bignami Disease
• Thiamine deficiency associated


Chronic alcohol abuse has been thought to cause cerebral atrophy (brain hemispheres) and also cause dementia like picture.

Cerebellar atrophy

Degeneration & atrophy of cerebellar hemispheres and/or vermis has been observed in chronic alcoholics.

Marchiafava Bignami Disease

This disease develops in people who consume certain types of wine and characterized by demyelination of an area of the brain called as corpus callosum.

Thiamine deficiency associated

Chronic alcoholism usually causes nutritional efficiency especially the water soluble vitamin B1 (thiamine). The deficiency of this vitamin can cause serious brain disorders like Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoffs psychosis.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Excessive and long term intake of alcohol has been an important cause for peripheral neuropathy. This is actually not a brain condition rather this is an example for alcohol induced damage to the peripheral nerves.

General outline of the Management

Not necessarily these above conditions are reversible on discontinuation of alcohol, sometimes yes, sometimes no. But it is strongly advised for these patients to quit drinking since sometimes partial or full recovery from the above conditions is possible and also the future damage can be averted.

Of course chronic alcoholics should not stop drinking abruptly because a serious condition called as delirum tremens can occur. So it is advisable to gradually stop drinking.

Patients should eat nutritious vitamin rich diet. Appropriate investigations are needed to find out the extent of the organ or tissue damage and treated accordingly. A neurologist and primary care physician are frequently involved in the care of these patients.

And finally yes once again, alcohol causes brain damage, and myriad other health hazards too, so stay away from this toxin to your best ability and all the best in your effort!

Alcohol Causes Brain Damage to Neurology Articles


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