This Alcohol Alert reviews some common disorders associated with alcohol–related brain damage and the people at greatest risk for impairment. Alcohol causes the brain’s reward system to release the motivational chemical dopamine. Alcohol is thought to imitate the effect of GABA on the brain, similar to GABA-like products which have been employed to reduce spasms. Alcohol’s activity on the dopamine site in the brain’s reward center produces the pleasurable feelings that motivate many people to drink in the first place. It’s important to know the effects of alcohol on the brain, especially if you’re a heavy drinker. In the brain, alcohol affects neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that either increase or decrease brain activity through electrical impulses. You know that when you drink too much, you end up getting drunk, but why? But over time, chronic drinking actually depletes the amount of dopamine in your brain, causing you to crave more alcohol and laying the groundwork for an alcohol addiction. When a person ingests alcohol, it quickly enters the bloodstream, through the bloodstream, it enters the brain. It looks at traditional as well as emerging therapies for the treatment and prevention of alcohol–related disorders and includes a brief look at the high–tech tools that are helping scientists to better understand the effects of alcohol on the brain. Alcohol and GABA. Alcohol does not increase GABA, but it produced similar effects on the body. Alcohol mimics the effects of GABA by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. What is it that it does in the brain that causes this to happen? As a Psychology Today article on this topic discusses, the degree to which alcohol impacts a person’s mood, behavior, and neurological functioning depends in part on whether the blood alcohol content (BAC) is elevating or decreasing. While alcohol and GABA have similar effects, does alcohol affect levels of GABA? The findings may lead to … Alcohol also contributes to the release of other inhibitors like serotonin and dopamine. This is a great question that you probably don’t know the answer to. How Does Alcohol Work in the Brain? That’s because much like GABA, it also inhibits glutamate, a major excitatory neurotransmitter. Science has verified alcohol’s feel-good effect; PET scans have shown that alcohol releases endorphins (the “pleasure hormones”) which bind to opiate receptors in the brain. How does alcohol affect the brain? Drinking alcohol causes the release of feel good chemicals called endorphins in the brain, a new study of brain images shows. 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