Effects of Alcohol on the Central Nervous System

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord, both of which need to be in strong, working order for a person to function at his or her full capacity. Unfortunately, however, severe alcohol abuse can take its toll on the central nervous system. In fact, even moderate consumption of alcohol negatively affects the central nervous system, so it’s easy to imagine what full-blown alcoholism can do to this sensitive system. Alcohol, even in small to moderate doses, can temporarily impair memory, in addition to making sound reason and/or judgment more difficult. Those who drink very large amounts may completely black out and not remember details from the period of time during and after drinking.

Those who have recently ingested alcohol also experience:

  • Delayed reaction times
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired hearing
  • Inability to drive effectively

Other unpleasant effects of drinking include sleep interruptions, depression, anxiety, feelings of panic, and even suicidal tendencies. Long-term alcohol abuse or alcoholism can even lead to the development of neuropathy, dementia, and serious conditions known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis. Alcoholism is a medical disorder, and it can have disastrous health consequences.


The biggest concern most people have is how much of an impact alcoholism has on the brain. Unfortunately, however, alcoholism affects every person – and their brain – differently. There are, though, some indicators that a person is more likely to experience the negative effects of alcohol on the brain:

  • Drinking often
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol in each drinking session
  • Younger age when taking first drink
  • Years spent drinking heavily
  • Poor overall health
  • A family history of alcoholism
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure

Any, all, or a combination of those factors can contribute to the depth and severity of the damage done to the brain by drinking.


While most people are concerned with how alcohol will impact their brains and their central nervous systems in general, it’s important to note that alcohol abuse and alcoholism take a toll on every part of the body.

Though not directly related to the central nervous system, here are some other possible effects of moderate to severe levels of alcohol consumption:

  • Hangovers
  • Heart failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Weight gain
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Hypertension
  • Liver disease
  • Increased risk of certain types of cancer
  • Impaired immune system functioning


Many people abuse alcohol, so many that it’s almost become commonplace. However, substance abuse and alcoholism are not “normal” or “okay.” They are both serious problems that require help and can benefit from addiction treatment intervention.

Your loved one may be struggling with alcoholism if he or she:

  • Can’t control the amount of alcohol ingested
  • Drinks in spite of negative work, health, legal, or relationship problems caused by alcohol abuse
  • Has to drink more and more to experience satisfaction
  • Can’t stop drinking
  • Chooses drinking over other hobbies or activities
  • Experiences withdrawal symptoms after drinking cessation
  • Spends large amounts of time drinking

If you notice these or other troubling symptoms in someone you care about, talk to him or her about the issue and consider our intensive alcohol treatment program here at Futures Recovery Healthcare. Call us today learn about our intervention services and about our individualized treatment programs.