Psychological Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant, so one of the chief effects of alcohol on the brain is to depress central nervous system functioning which may be why major depressive disorder occurs in high rates in those who abuse alcohol. While some alcohol addicts may be drinking to self-medicate a depression, research shows that long-term, excessive intake of alcohol causes major depressive disorder. (read: long term effects of alcohol)
Psychological Effects of Alcohol - Alcoholism and Suicide
One of the psychological effects of alcohol also appears to be an increase in suicidal behaviors:xii
- A study of people hospitalized for suicide attempts found that those who were alcoholics were 75 times more likely to go on to successfully commit suicide than non-alcoholic suicide attempters.
- In the general alcoholic population the increased risk of suicide compared to the general public is 5 - 20 times greater.
- About 15 percent of alcoholics commit suicide.
Psychological Effects of Alcohol - Hepatic Encephalopathy
Many psychological effects of alcohol on the brain can also be seen in a form of a type of liver damage known as hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy is a worsening of brain function that occurs when the liver is no longer able to remove toxic substances in the blood.
The psychological effects of alcohol from hepatic encephalopathy include:xiii
- Sleep pattern changes
- Changes in mood and personality
- Depression, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions
- Cognitive effects such as shortened attention span and problems with coordination
Other known psychological effects of alcohol include anxiety, panic disorder, hallucinations, delusions and psychotic disorders.
Last Updated: 20 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD