Does alcohol damage the brain or is this a myth?

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JamesManc
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Lots of people say alcohol causes brain damage or causes depression etc, but every scientist I've consulted says this isn't true. And it's more likely that depression causes alcohol addiction, rather than the reverse. There are rare cses like Korsakoff's for example.

My father is friends with the leadng alcohol addiction psychiatrist and he says that while alcohol poisons nerve cells in a laboratory in vitro it is probably not true outside of the laboratory?
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pjm600
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(Original post by JamesManc)
Lots of people say alcohol causes brain damage or causes depression etc, but every scientist I've consulted says this isn't true. And it's more likely that depression causes alcohol addiction, rather than the reverse. There are rare cses like Korsakoff's for example.

My father is friends with the leadng alcohol addiction psychiatrist and he says that while alcohol poisons nerve cells in a laboratory in vitro it is probably not true outside of the laboratory?
How could you ethically prove it to have an effect outwith the lab?

Why would depression cause alcohol addiction?

Could alcohol be a catalyst for underlying depression?

:beer:
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JamesManc
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(Original post by pjm600)
How could you ethically prove it to have an effect outwith the lab?

Why would depression cause alcohol addiction?

Could alcohol be a catalyst for underlying depression?

:beer:
Yeah you don't understand invitro and invivo

Nor reverse causation it seems
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Dima-Blackburn
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Pretty sure long-term alcoholism, or even short-term binge drinking, has the potential to damage your brain.
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pjm600
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(Original post by JamesManc)
Yeah you don't understand invitro and invivo

Nor reverse causation it seems
I've not come across them before, no. How could you ethically prove it to have an effect, on humans, outwith the lab?

Why would alcohol cause depression as opposed to vice versa?

Is it not possible that alcohol could act as a catalyst for underlying depression?
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Fullofsurprises
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The respected US body NIH-AAA has a useful paper on this subject.
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

It's pretty clear from the science that women and children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of alcohol in a variety of ways, including to the brain. Everybody is if they drink regularly for prolonged periods and in excess.
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username1494226
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It courses damage as it messes with water potential in the brain, read that a while ago.
EDIT: Can't fully validate that, this was in biology about a year ago, it does something with neurotransmitters
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JamesManc
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"It courses water damage" wow
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JamesManc
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(Original post by pjm600)

Why would alcohol cause depression as opposed to vice versa?
Well it wouldn't necessarily, but why would alcohol cause depression?

A theory of alcoholism causing depression is that people drink more tend to be more depressed, or that alcohol causes a reduction in things such as natural GABA which are associated with calmness and an increase in exogenous GABA causing panic.
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7fpbo
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It does OP.
http://bitly.com/1oB7cv8
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Illegal Algebra
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No. Alcohol is good for you. It improves your cell function, increases your alertness and general wellbeing, improves your cognitive ability and reduces your risk of cancer. It's very healthy, tasty and beneficial.

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TorpidPhil
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(Original post by Illegal Algebra)
No. Alcohol is good for you. It improves your cell function, increases your alertness and general wellbeing, improves your cognitive ability and reduces your risk of cancer. It's very healthy, tasty and beneficial.

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:no:
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carterdemelo
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People who drink massive quantities of alcohol suffer brain shrinkage and cognitive dysfunction as a result. However, the good news is that if these heavy drinkers do not have thiamine-related brain damage or liver-related brain damage then this cognitive dysfunction and brain shrinkage is almost entirely reversible with a change from heavy drinking to reduced drinking or alcohol abstinence.
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Revenged
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Alcoholic dementia (Korsakoff's) is due thiamine deficiency. This does damage the hippocampus causing permanent brain damage particularly with memory impairment and confabulation. This is not rare !

Alcohol can also damage the liver which causes liver failure. The toxins itself can cause brain damage - hepatic encephalophathy. This is also common and becomes irreversible.

Addiction psychological theories - you need to read about conditioning. Both classical (palovian) and operant conditioning (+ve/-ve reinforcement) best explain it.

The neurochemical theories of addiction is to do with dopamine and its association with activation in the reward pathways. Therefore the response with cocaine or amphetamines (for example).

Depression and addiction, although linked, are often entirely separate. Some people are depressed and turn to drugs but equally many others have drugs recreationally and then become depressed.

No anti-depressant works on GABA now GABA is not affected by alcohol afaik, therefore I do not think your theory has any real basis. Neurochemical theories of depression rely primarily on monoamines - serotonin, noradrenaline and to a lesser extend dopamine.

HTH
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