Alcohol and Visual Snow

Alcohol And Visual Snow

Anecdotally I and many others I’m sure will have noticed that visual snow is affected by alcohol. Sometimes even in a positive manner. How could this be? Is alcohol good or bad for those with visual snow? Here is a simple research-backed answer and explanation.

Alcohol And Cortical Hyperexcitability

An emerging consensus according to research is that the pathophysiology of visual snow may involve “cortical hyperexcitability”: basically meaning too much excitation or not enough inhibition exists within the brain of those with visual snow.

In the brain, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter.

Consequently, for those with visual snow:

  • More GABA
  • Less Glutamate
  • Less GABA
  • More Glutamate

Short-Term

  • More GABA effect
  • Less Glutamate release

Taken together alcohol may therefore appear to temporarily improve certain symptoms of visual snow because it inhibits neurotransmitter activity.

Long-Term

In the long term however the body adapts to these effects. Chronic consumption of alcohol will gradually make certain receptors hypersensitive to glutamate while desensitizing the GABA ones.

  • Less GABA sensitivity
  • More Glutamate sensitivity

In the long run therefore alcohol likely has the potential to worsen visual snow symptoms.

More To Consider

Alcohol may also have other indirect or less obvious effects on visual snow. It may for example make you more vulnerable to other environmental influences upon visual snow, or worsen comorbidities.

Verdict

Alcohol is generally going to be bad for those with visual snow because it disrupts bodily homeostasis and creates tolerance. It should ideally either be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains the opinions and ideas of its authors. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material. Readers should consult their doctor before implementing any suggestions. The authors specifically disclaim all responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of reading this material.

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