The human brain is an incredible organ. It has the great ability to heal itself over time, even after major trauma. Despite this fact, prolonged alcohol abuse can have lasting negative health effects on the brain. As these effects can be life-altering, one should know the risks of both alcohol use and abuse.
This being said, there are ways to recover from alcohol dependence and get your brain to a healthy state once more. In this article we aim to outline the dangers of alcohol misuse, as well as how to heal after alcoholism.
How is the Brain Affected by Alcohol
When lots of alcohol is consumed, key areas of the brain are affected. In general, inhibitions are lowered, reaction times are dulled, judgment is weakened, and concentration becomes difficult.
To be specific, alcohol affects major areas of the brain including: the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe, cerebellum, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and medulla. These areas of the brain are responsible for most of our functionality as human beings. Consumption of alcohol in large quantities hinders decision making, perception, and judgment. Memory, learning, coordination, blood pressure, and breathing can also be negatively affected in the short term by alcohol consumption.
What are Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism on the Brain?
Long-term effects of alcohol on the brain can be both wide ranging and devastating. Prolonged alcohol consumption can lead to severe damage to the frontal lobe. This can result in permanent decision making and self-control issues.
Long-term alcohol use may also lead to major damage of the hippocampus. This can lead to a host of mental and social issues, as memory loss, learning issues, and impulse control can all have major effects on a person’s life.
Does the Brain Recover from Alcohol Abuse?
Through sustained abstinence from alcohol use, the brain can undo much of the damage done by alcoholism. By removing alcohol from one’s life, you give your brain the time and space it needs to repair itself. Meanwhile, alcohol dependency can damage the brain irreparably. By seeking help as soon as possible, one can give themselves the greatest chance of a successful long term recovery.
Steps to Heal Your Brain After Alcoholism
Seeking help for alcoholism can be a life-changing step in regaining your freedom from dependency. Once you decide to make this life altering change, the first step is to stop drinking and do everything in your power to remain abstinent.
By giving your body the time and space it needs, the healing process can begin. Seeking the appropriate support system to have your back through this period of tribulation can be essential, and make all the difference when times get tough.
Finding a medically supervised detoxification facility, mutual support group, behavioral treatment, and certain prescription medications can all be options and tools to help combat alcoholism. Going through recovery solo can often be dangerous. Relapse is most often the result of solo recovery attempts. By seeking experienced and appropriate support, you give yourself the gift of a second chance and a life free from the horrors of alcohol misuse.
Timeline for Brain Recovery After Alcohol Abuse
Once one stops using alcohol, the brain acts swiftly to begin the healing process. How to heal the brain after alcoholism usually boils down to time.
Typically, most relapses occur during the first two weeks of alcohol abstinence. This is because recovering alcoholics often experience a variety of thinking deficits during this early time period.
Confusion and irritability often dissipate from recovering alcohol abusers in the first two months, leading to a much more stable mood and more rational decision-making.
After one to five years, a recovering alcohol abuser may find most of their cognitive functions returning to normal. Vast improvement to full cognitive recovery can take place during this time frame, meaning that the brain will mend many of the issues caused by alcohol abuse. Lingering reasoning, short-term memory, and visual spatial ability issues may still be present at this stage.
After seven years, most recovering alcohol abusers find that their cognitive functions have completely returned to normal. Visual spatial ability issues may still be present and linger on for years depending primarily on individual factors.
Seek Assistance for Alcohol Abuse in California
Here at Ocean Hills Recovery, we are waiting with open arms to help you take the first steps in your alcohol recovery journey. With locations in both San Diego and Orange County, we offer inpatient drug and alcohol programs built to help you safely and effectively conquer your addiction. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff are ready to give you the tools necessary to reclaim your independence from alcohol dependency. There has never been a better time to regain control of your life and to begin the healing process. Contact our admissions page today, and take the first steps in your personalized recovery journey.