How Long Does it Take the Brain to Heal from Drinking?

How Long Does it Take the Brain to Heal from Drinking?

The brain and body take a beating from alcohol abuse, depending on how long it takes place, but it is not easy to recover from the damage caused. In time, the brain can begin to repair itself and what it lost, but heavy drinking can take a toll on a person’s cognitive abilities, including attention and memory, which are debilitated even when alcohol is in the bloodstream. Impaired performance reflects poor concentration and focus, including reduced reaction times. Alcohol can dehydrate people who don’t drink enough water to compensate and cause kidney damage. Find out how the brain navigates the healing process and works to repair itself from alcohol’s effects.

Quitting Alcohol

The brain does not return to its usual state for a long time after a person stops drinking. Attention, memory, and reaction time start to return but are not at normal speeds for quite some time. A hangover, for instance, may have serious consequences for a person’s performance at work. Heavy drinking takes a toll on people’s work, and family life, along with other relationships. When the brain is not performing well, it can impact their entire life: 

  • Within 14 days of detox, the brain replaces much of the volume lost and the cerebellum responds the most quickly of all (responsible for movement and motor skills)
  • Partial recovery with continued abstinence is likely
  • Different brain regions heal at different paces, including the thinking part of the brain that need longer to recover

Recovering Function

While some function is lost to alcohol abuse, sobriety brings lots of healing to the brain that is now being recognized. Communication between higher-functioning areas and the cerebellum demonstrates function begins to return after the first week of last drink and well into recovery. People in recovery have reason to hope if they quit drinking, their brains will begin to process better, and faster, while also being able to better control motor function and heal. This restored functionality is key to feeling like recovery is a journey worth taking for people who have been chronic drinkers for a long time. With recovery comes healing and a sense that they are finally on the road to something better than where they were. This includes:

  • Rebuilding confidence in their abilities at work and at home
  • Finding new sober relationships
  • Cultivating new purpose and goals
  • Seeking help for mental health issues and finding their way out of the darkness of addiction
  • Navigating family dynamics and maintaining sobriety

Even through stressors and difficult circumstances, people can work to heal their brains and bodies in addiction, which helps them rebuild their lives. This is a necessary component for the journey of recovery that helps people see the benefits of not using drugs to numb their pain any longer. 

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Communty model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.