Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.


Booze Brain


You may remember Dr. Gorman's presentation on alcohol and other drugs effects on the brain from your orientation days.  Since some time has gone by whether it's been a few months or years, we thought a refresher could be helpful, especially as your brains are churning out papers and exam answers.

So thanks to Forbes, here's a quick run down:

"Why drinking makes you less inhibited:

Cerebral cortex: In this region, where thought processing and consciousness are centered, alcohol depresses the behavioral inhibitory centers, making the person less inhibited; it slows down the processing of information from the eyes, ears, mouth and other senses; and it inhibits the thought processes, making it difficult to think clearly.

Why drinking makes you clumsy:

Cerebellum: Alcohol affects this center of movement and balance, resulting in the staggering, off-balance swagger we associate with the so-called “falling-down drunk.”

Why drinking increases sexual urges but decreases sexual performance:

Hypothalamus and pituitary: The hypothalamus and pituitary coordinate automatic brain functions and hormone release. Alcohol depresses nerve centers in the hypothalamus that control sexual arousal and performance. Although sexual urge may increase, sexual performance decreases.

Why drinking makes your sleepy:

Medulla: This area of the brain handles such automatic functions as breathing, consciousness and body temperature. By acting on the medulla, alcohol induces sleepiness. It can also slow breathing and lower body temperature, which can be life threatening."

Instead of developing any sort of Booze Brain, try keeping the brain in a safer place by using some protective strategies.  Consider things like having 1 cup of water after each alcoholic beverage consumed.  This will help keep the body hydrated and give it some time to metabolize the alcohol.  Another way to keep the brain out of harm's way is to stay in the blue zone, also known as stopping at buzzed.  By drinking in moderation, the euphoric effects of drinking can still be felt, but without the dangerous consequences, like impaired judgement, reduced motor functioning, and so on.