Slurred Speech & Drinking

By James Madeiros


A Messy Mouthful 

Have you ever noticed that after a few drinks a person’s speaking may get a little … slushy? Consonants start bleeding into vowels, and the next thing you know they’re telling you, “Shumtimes when I have drinksh I jusht can’t feel my fashe.”

Slurred speech, medically diagnosed as dysarthria, occurs when it becomes difficult for a person to control the muscles in their tongue and face, usually due to some kind of trauma to the brain, or muscular disease.

Another common culprit of slurred speech is alcohol consumption, which stands apart from these other diagnoses in that it does not involve the kind of trauma generally associated with stroke or a disease like muscular dystrophy.

Even so, alcohol does have an impact on the brain and central nervous system, as evidenced by the common symptom of slurred speech. It does this by slowing brain activity, disturbing motor control (peripheral neuropathy), restricting blood flow to muscles and lowering inhibitions, which makes intoxicated people less worried about clearly enunciating their words.

Slurred speech often gets shuffled into the category of the short-term effects of alcohol consumption. Research indicates, however, that long-term effects can include peripheral neuropathy, which could contribute to slurred speech.

As amusing as it sounds, slurred speech should be a reminder of what the future may hold for someone who does not drink responsibly.

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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