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Blood-Brain Barrier and Alcohol

Blood-Brain Barrier and Alcohol

Not many have heard of the blood-brain barrier, let alone how alcohol can affect it.

As one of the most abused substances in the United States, numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of alcohol and the long-term issues that can result from alcohol abuse. These studies have produced research that displays the connection between the blood brain barrier and alcohol. As the rates of alcoholism continue to rise, the relationship between the two is further analyzed.

At our rehab center in Pompano, we provide individuals with effective addiction treatments to treat and avoid the symptoms of substance abuse. Our patients receive safe and helpful treatment that helps them get closer to sobriety.

What Is the Function of The Blood-Brain Barrier?

The blood-brain barrier, as the name suggests, serves as a protective barrier for the brain. It’s the barrier between the blood vessels in your brain, otherwise referred to as capillaries, and the cells and other areas that make up your brain tissue.The blood-brain barrier protects against pathogens and toxins in our blood that can cause disease. Although this part of the brain was discovered in the late 1900s by a German physician named Paul Ehrlich, it wasn’t until the 60s that researchers had the proper equipment to look at and identify this barrier.1

Can Alcohol Pass Through the Blood-Brain Barrier?

Alcohol can pass through the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to reach the brain and disrupt its normal functions. The connection between the blood-brain barrier and alcohol exists because alcohol is able to cross through the blood-brain barrier by moving via blood circulation to the brain cells. This, of course, can result in the death of many brain cells, which can negatively impact a person’s health and cognitive performance. Younger adults who partake in binge drinking may suffer worse consequences because their brains may not be fully developed. People who have been caught in the grip of addiction should get immediate help with our intensive outpatient program.

How Does Alcohol Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier?

The blood-brain barrier and alcohol are a dangerous duo because alcohol can quickly penetrate the barrier and damage the brain. After it’s been ingested, alcohol makes its way into the arteries that sit between the skull and brain. It then travels through the capillaries until it reaches brain tissue. Once alcohol passes through these capillaries, it reaches the neurons, or brain cells.2 Although the blood-brain barrier can protect the brain from many different toxins and substances, alcohol can unfortunately pass through the barrier very easily.

Alcohol is a dangerous substance that can destroy brain cells, which can result in cognitive dysfunction and other health problems. At Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano, we advise those who are struggling with an addiction to alcohol to receive treatment right away. The best thing you can do for yourself or someone else with a substance abuse problem is to get help and begin the journey to sobriety. To make recovery from alcoholism possible, we provide an alcohol addiction treatment designed to meet the specific needs of our patients.

If you or a loved one are trapped in the harmful cycle of substance abuse, call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our addiction treatments and programs.


  1. QBI- What is the blood-brain barrier?
  2. APEP- Getting Alcohol to the Brain: Crossing the Blood-Brain-Barrier
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.