Consequences of alcohol consumption on neurotransmitters -an overview

Curr Neurovasc Res. 2008 Nov;5(4):266-72. doi: 10.2174/156720208786413415.


Alcohol one of the important products of the global addiction alters brain function by interacting with multiple neurotransmitter systems, thereby disrupting the delicate balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters. Alcohol positively reinforces drinking by producing a mild euphoria. The reinforcing effects of alcohol are mediated by several neurochemical systems and are associated with some of the behavioral manifestations of intoxication. Alcohol consumption is initially accompanied by decreased attention, alterations in memory, mood changes and drowsiness. Generally all vital functions of brain depend on a delicate balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission,which in turn dependent on short and long term alcohol consumption. Detailed understanding of alcohol's mechanism of action on the neurotransmitters of brain is a prerequisite in discovering effective treatments for both alcohol abuse and alcoholism. This review covers the elaborate literature on the subject and highlights the functions and interactions of neurotransmitters and alcoholism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents