Recovering from Alcohol – Your Brain Makes Improvement Almost Immediately
The brain has an amazing feature in repairing itself. One of the factors that affect our brain’s functional recovery is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. This feature allows our brain to cope with any damage and adjust to new learning and activity that we acquire.
Alcohol’s Action on the Brain
Alcohol intoxication weakens our judgment, concentration and inhibition and a blackout may sometimes occur when we consume high levels of alcohol. Chronic alcoholism damages the brain and neurons in a wide array of ways. Aside from brain shrinkage, alcohol also affects the different parts of our brain.
- Cerebral Cortex – A person loses judgment and inhibitions become lowered. It also affects our perception and how sensory information reaches our brain.
- Frontal Lobe – This area of the brain is involved with a person’s planning, decision-making, and self-control. Alcohol impairs the proper functioning of the frontal lobe and prolonged alcohol consumption may cause permanent damage to this area.
- Hippocampus – Memory and learning are facilitated by this area of the brain. A person may also have an alcohol blackout and cannot remember the entire event that happened during this period. Prolonged alcohol use can cause permanent damage in memory and learning of a person.
- Cerebellum – This part facilitates thinking, coordination, balance, and awareness. Alcohol interference in this part may cause loss of balance and coordination.
- Hypothalamus – Alcohol can cause increased blood pressure, increased hunger and thirst, decreased body temperature and decreased heart rate when it reaches this area of the brain.
- Medulla – Alcohol affects this part by interfering with its ability to maintain normal body temperature. It can also slow breathing and heart rate. This part of the brain may shut down and a person may undergo a coma when alcohol is used excessively over a short period of time.
Cognitive Recovery after Abstinence
Being an alcoholic for a long period of time greatly damages the brain. However, even a few weeks of sobriety from alcohol does a lot to “undo” the damage that has been done.
Studies show that improvement in short-term and long-term memory to complete recovery of these functions is attained after alcohol abstinence. Brain structure may also recover as there is an increase in the volume of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory functions. Sustained abstinence is also associated with tissue gain in the brain. The increased volume of tissues relates to better and improved functions of the brain.
The Recovery Timeline
- 2 Weeks
Recovering alcoholics experience a variety of thinking deficits at two weeks into recovery. These help explain a lot why relapse rates are high during the first weeks of abstinence.
- 2 Months
Distractibility, confusion and irritability may disappear 60 days into the recovery. A recovering alcoholic can be expected to be quite calmer and more clear-headed than before.
- 5 Years
Remarkable cognitive improvements to full restoration can be experienced from 2 months to 5 years of alcohol abstinence. Some problems such as non-verbal abstract reasoning, non-verbal short-term memory, diminished mental flexibility, and diminished visual-spatial abilities may still be present but all other cognitive functions are already back to a normal state.
- 7 Years
An average recovering alcoholic has made a nearly complete recovery back to normal functioning. However, a little bit of irreversible damage can still be felt as diminished visual-spatial abilities still persist.
The Battle against Alcohol Addiction
After years of damage to the brain due to excessive alcoholism, you can always choose to embark on a journey towards recovery. Abstinence is one of the key factors of this healing process.
Ocean Hills Recovery offers efficient alcohol rehab programs that aims for a successful recovery and a clean, sober life. The programs vary in length and depend largely on the needs of our clients. We offer help through all stages of recovery, from alcohol detox to sobriety. Treatment options also vary and include behavioral treatments, mutual-support groups, and medications to ensure a client can choose what treatment option will suit him.
- Behavioral treatment – Also known as alcohol counseling, it basically refers to working with a health professional to identify and correct behaviors leading to excessive drinking.
- Mutual support groups – These are programs that give peer support to clients who want to stop drinking. This treatment is effective especially when combined with other treatments provided by health professionals.
- Medications – This is another type of rehabilitation and is used to prevent relapse. Medications work by counterbalancing certain changes in the brain that are brought by alcohol. It might sound convenient but medications are noted to not work for everyone.
Ocean Hills Recovery provides professional alcohol detox services combined with sound methods in treating alcohol addiction. Psychological treatment based on the 12 steps is given after going through detox to ensure the efficiency of the recovery program.
Each client is offered an opportunity for victory against addiction as our staff does its best to meet the needs of every individual client. Seeing the pain and suffering our guests go through, we give our best in helping them ultimately succeed in their journey towards sober living. Our alcohol detox program helps our clients build new habits and make good connections and leave the negative ones behind.
How to Choose a Suitable Treatment Program?
Before deciding on a treatment program, learn first how each program works. Treatment cost is another important factor in choosing an appropriate treatment plan. You must be persistent and dedicated that it will work out in the long run. Family and friends are also essential in your journey as their encouragement and words of advice are necessary during this process.
It’s Never Too Late!
If you or a loved one suffers from alcohol addiction, take that step now towards the journey to a sober life and contact us today. Ocean Hills Recovery Inc. is an outstanding drug and alcohol treatment center set in Dana Point, California. Here in Ocean Hills Recovery, we are committed to long term rehabilitation and the assurance of a long-lived success in the battle against alcohol addiction.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.