Alcohol can have a significant impact on the brain, even in small amounts. Alcohol is a depressant that acts on our GABA neurotransmitters, but as you drink it can also have a stimulant effect by increasing norepinephrine, which is associated with excitement. It also decreases activity in your prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which (respectively) control rational decision making and help create and store memories. This is why people feel “braver” and less inhibited. It also decreases activity in the cerebellum, which accounts for the decrease in motor coordination.
- Alcohol is considered a must by some people for every occasion – for brunch, lunch or dinner, for occasions with friends, and to celebrate weddings, graduations, and birthdays.
- Although alcohol is classified as a depressant, when people drink, they tend to get excited, to have a spark, and an alcohol “buzz”.
- Alcohol begins to act as a stimulant when one has taken too much of it and it makes the brain release norepinephrine.
“Whether you’re having one or two casual drinks or you’ve tallied up enough drinks to have you dancing and singing on top of the bar, it can’t be denied that even just a small amount of alcohol affects our brains and our behaviors.”