It’s not hard to see that alcohol damages the brain—look no further than the stereotypical “drunk person.” They stumble, unable to coordinate their body. Their speech is slurred, and they can’t exercise the same kind of judgment that they could sober. They’re more likely to engaged in violence or unprotected/unwanted sexual activity. To be concise: their brains aren’t working to the best of their ability. Normally, drunkenness wears off and the brain is not significantly worse for it, but it’s a different story if the drinker is an alcoholic.
Prioritization Awareness on the Effects of Abuse
Excessive alcohol consumption may cause serious damage to a person’s brain, even when they aren’t acutely drunk. Judgment, memory, and learning can be seriously impaired if someone has a habit of regular alcohol abuse. Younger adults, whose brains are still developing, are at an increased risk of developing problems with learning and memory from alcohol abuse. Recovering alcoholics retain this brain deficiencies, if their previous drinking habits were severe enough to cause them. This means that their ability to recall events and create new memories will still be suboptimal, even though they’re sober, and their decision-making skills won’t be back up to their old standard. This can be a recipe for a difficult time in recovery, but there’s several things that give recovering alcoholics hope.
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The first is that there is no shortage of support and help for those working to overcome alcoholism. AA, aftercare, and outpatient care can all help a recovering alcoholic stay committed to health and find ways to work past the damage that drinking has done to their brains.
The second, and more dramatic findings show that many studies suggest that long-term abstinence from alcohol can actually see that brain damage repair itself! The linked study examined a group of recovering alcoholics who were in recovery for an average of 6.7 years. Compared to a control group of similarly-aged adults who had never been addicted to alcohol, both groups were indistinguishable in most cognitive abilities with the exception of spatial processing.
Recovery – A life-long Commitment Return and Stay with Your True Self
This means that alcoholics who undergo alcohol abuse rehab and get into recovery can look forward to a cognitive rebuilding process that will let them one day reclaim a life of responsibility, sensible judgment, and sound critical thinking skills. That is—with enough commitment to health and recovery, a sober alcoholic can be mentally capable of a healthy career, fulfilling social life, and loving family relationships. Although the mental recovery isn’t complete, it’s significant, and provides a helpful goal for recovering alcoholics to strive towards as they are treated in alcohol abuse rehab.