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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: seeing sparks/stars after binge drinking-scarey


 unchatbleu - Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:36 pm

I am a 23 year old female currently seeing a counselor for binge drinking but i want to know what it means when i see sparks or stars with a black background in front of my eyes after drinking a lot of alcohol. they are large "stars" sometimes in different colors. It happens with my eyes open or closed.i feel it is connected with brain damage, sometimes it feels like a "zap!" like and electric shock. It is hard to describe. Its scary and i want to know what part of the brain is connected with it and why it occurs. What does this mean exactly? The next day after drinking its pretty constant especially if i move too fast (mostly my head). This just starting occurring in the last year, i think it started after I got alcohol poisoning last summer. I know I should stop and I'm seeking counseling,and knowing that it is damaging my brain helps me to stop. Thanks for your time
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:06 pm

User avatar Alcohol affects the body in several ways.

It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Contrary to many people's belief that it is a stimulant, what is happening during the "happy" part of alcohol effect is that the inhibition centers that normally keep people from acting the way the do under the influence of alcohol are being shut down by the depressing effects. As alcohol level rises, this effect becomes more and more prominent. The other areas of the brain also become slowed. It is possible that the stars you are seeing are due to the affect of alcohol on the vision part of the brain.

Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning it induces urination and bodily water loss. The "hang over" symptoms are often primarily due to dehydration. If the brain becomes overly dehydrated it also fails to function properly and the dizziness common with hang overs is likely due to this effect. I suspect that the stars you are seeing is a combination of these two mechanisms plus some other effects of the alcohol.

As I'm sure you are aware, this level of effect on the brain over time leads to permanent damage. Congratulations on deciding to stop with the binge drinking.

Best wishes. I hope this answers your question some.

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