Alcohol can greatly affect the brain depending on the amount found in the bloodstream, which is why there are legal limits for blood alcohol content (BAC) while driving. Serious accidents resulting in major injuries and even death can happen when someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. Immediate effects of high alcohol levels include slurred speech, blurry vision, slowed-down reactions, lapsed memory, etc.

But that’s just the short-term effects of alcohol. Over time, alcohol can cause irreversible damage in the brain. It’s not felt or seen right away, but years of drinking excessively can take its toll.

Excessive drinkers are more susceptible to anxiety and depression. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate a bad mood, but what it really does is take away your brain’s ability to adapt to stress naturally because it lowers your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that regulates moods. Without it, you’ll have erratic mood swings and feelings. As a result, the brain becomes dependent on alcohol to reduce sad and anxious emotions, and completely disrupts emotional and mental stability.

It’s no surprise that many suicides are closely tied with excessive drinking. Alcohol affects reasoning and perspective, so for alcoholics, a difficult yet solvable situation can look bleak and hopeless.

Alcohol also causes brain lesions that affect memory, which is why alcoholics tend to develop blackouts later in life, after years of drinking. Significant chunks of memory can get affected, and in many cases, there’s no way of getting them back.

Of course, alcoholics often say that they’ll stop when things get worse, but what they don’t realize is that withdrawal symptoms are just as tough on the brain because it has grown dependent on the substance.

In this situation, prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.