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Cognitive improvements after quitting????

Old 10-09-2010, 08:39 PM
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Cognitive improvements after quitting????

Hello all, I was just curious as to how long after quitting the drink do you start to see improvements in your memory, cognition, and verbal memory abilities? And to what extent those abilities have been impaired with you? I used to be a very articulate and witty person but have noticed lately that I can't seem to grasp abstract ideas. When in conversation I find myself constantly having to "regroup" just to understand what the person is saying so that I can respond. Though when I do, I can't seem to link a coherent sentence together. I can't hold onto one thought for more than a second without it being obstructed by something. It's like putting in a vhs and the black screen comes up, you know what you're expecting to see, but how long it will be is unknown. I drank heavily for 7 years and was sober for 5 months. I started drinking again (3 months ago) and never noticed any of these symptoms prior to my sobriety/continuation. I would just like to know if anyone else has had these same issues and if so, how long after you quit did you see improvements if any? Also, I have since stopped (3 weeks) and am adamant about that so I don't need any lectures, just objective, experience oriented info. Thanks so much.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:17 PM
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My own cognitive abilities tend to flicker a bit. Sometimes they are pretty good, other times they seem to be on the blink. I've been sober two years.

I'm hopeful that with time and continued sobriety they will return to almost normal as the brain creates new neuropathways.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:42 PM
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I am 3 months sober and would say this area seems to be the slowest to come back...I do see improvement big its not happening overnight.

Welcome to SR and congrats on your sober time.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:43 AM
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Welcome to our recovery community...

By the end of 2 months of AA recovery
I was back in balance both mentally and physically.

Not only had I quit drinking...I was eating healthy
foods....I consider that was important.

Now that I am an old woman....some of my abilties
are natually slideing away.
Proper names often escape me ...

Glad you decided on sobriety....
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Old 10-10-2010, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by willthiswork View Post
Hello all, I was just curious as to how long after quitting the drink do you start to see improvements in your memory, cognition, and verbal memory abilities? And to what extent those abilities have been impaired with you? I used to be a very articulate and witty person but have noticed lately that I can't seem to grasp abstract ideas. When in conversation I find myself constantly having to "regroup" just to understand what the person is saying so that I can respond. Though when I do, I can't seem to link a coherent sentence together. I can't hold onto one thought for more than a second without it being obstructed by something. It's like putting in a vhs and the black screen comes up, you know what you're expecting to see, but how long it will be is unknown. I drank heavily for 7 years and was sober for 5 months. I started drinking again (3 months ago) and never noticed any of these symptoms prior to my sobriety/continuation. I would just like to know if anyone else has had these same issues and if so, how long after you quit did you see improvements if any? Also, I have since stopped (3 weeks) and am adamant about that so I don't need any lectures, just objective, experience oriented info. Thanks so much.
the first 4-6 weeks i was sober, it really took alot effort to verbalize a sentence that made much sense. my short term memory was incredibly bad, and it took a long time for it to come back.

i also had an incredibly difficult time writing and really couldn't type a paragraph that didn't have every other word mispelled or words simply out of place. the writing was so bad, i waited 5-6 months to join this place after i got sober even though i had been reading it for months.

I have almost a year now, and while the verbal skills are back to normal, the writing is still a work in progress.

hope that helps.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:01 AM
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Hi willthiswork,

Yes, unfortunately we're not imagining it. It's well documented that there's a certain amount of cognitive impairment in early recovery. IIRC, the rate of axon formation is slowed at first but in most cases the brain starts to repair itself after 6 months or so if abstinence is maintained. There's plenty of research on this if you google it.

This aspect of recovery is a particular frustration for me as my work depends on abstract reasoning. It seems the 'brain fog' is just another penalty we have to pay.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:41 AM
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my cognitive abilities are not good, and i wonder if the damage i have done will ever be repaired, for instance sometimes the particular word i want to use just wont come out, instead a similar sounding word will emerge, or a word that just has the same letter as the one i wish to use,
after drinking heavily for years though its to be expected,
i have had periods of sobriety before and it has improved a bit after a few months, so i'm hoping it will again, i'm on day 17, i really want it to be permanent this time,
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:03 AM
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If we only usually use 10% of our brain then shouldn't we be able to damage part of it with abuse and still recover? My sister had a chunk of her brain removed...the size of a golf ball and she is 100% fine..her boyfriend at the time was a neurosurgeon and said this was possible because of how little we actually use the brain.
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:03 AM
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:22 PM
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hi WillThis--welcome to SR. I'm sure there's lots of info in the link Boleo posted above. I experienced heavy brain fog for the first two months. Now I'm closing in on 6 months and what I can say for sure is that my mind is much much more consistent.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:06 PM
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Hi willithiswork - yes, I also experienced extreme brain fog and this affected not only my speaking and writing, but my ability to understand things I was reading or what other people were saying to me. It would've been funny if it weren't so serious - other people talking to me sometimes sounded like Charlie Brown's mom (wa-wa-wawa-waa-waa-waaa) and I had trouble concentrating. Like others who posted above, it does get better, more and more all the time - I've been sober for 2 yrs and I'm about back to "normal" with the brain fog stuff. Thank you for bringing it up - it's another really good reason to stay sober!!!
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:15 PM
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I think you should look up info regarding Thiamine and Potassium, two important things your body loses when you stop drinking. The levels plummet for some reason, especially the Thiamine (B1) - Not giving any advice here really, just check it out on your own - just google thiamine and throw the word alcohol next to it and you will get plenty of results.

But yeah, it makes you lose your ability to think straight, and can give you permanent shakes from nerve damage if you aren't careful to keep the levels correct during your detox...throughout the detox - because that is when the actual damage is done. I'm not talking about everyone that quits mind you - but if you have been a fairly hard drinker for like, close to a decade, this could apply to you and maybe you should read up on it.

The thiamine deficiency thing is rather paramount though - the confusion, lack of being able to think straight, unable to make sentences come out the way you want or form thoughts, etc... all classic symptoms.

Alcoholic brain disease:

Nerve cells and other supporting cells (such as glial cells) of the nervous system require thiamine. Examples of neurologic disorders that are linked to alcohol abuse include Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) and Korsakoff’s psychosis (alcohol amnestic disorder) as well as varying degrees of cognitive impairment.

Wernicke’s encephalopathy is the most frequently encountered manifestation of thiamine deficiency in Western society, and is caused by alcoholism.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
If we only usually use 10% of our brain then shouldn't we be able to damage part of it with abuse and still recover? My sister had a chunk of her brain removed...the size of a golf ball and she is 100% fine..her boyfriend at the time was a neurosurgeon and said this was possible because of how little we actually use the brain.
We use 100% of our brains. Different parts of our brain have different functions, so if your sister had a chunk removed and you haven't noticed anything, it must be a part that is not used in social situations.

It's true that alcohol deteriorates cognitive abilities, and that over time it is possible to recover... But really, instead of just waiting for your brain to recover because you're not drinking anymore, it's better to take an active interest in improving your abilities. You need to engage in problem solving activities daily... Math can help... Memorising new things... Chess... etc... Anything that forces you to engage in active thinking will improve your cognitive abilities in all aspects of life.

This is a widely studies subject, so you can probably find lots of interesting studies just by searching google.
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:41 PM
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Cognitive improvements after quitting????

Yup.

After 99 days sober I've gotten faster at my job than I've ever been, with almost no mistakes.

People at work have noticed and are starting to talk

Murray
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:40 PM
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What protocol to follow to improve cognitive abilities

Hey guys,

this is my first post, I have quit drinking after 20+ years. After some years of intense drinking, the last two years have been moderate (3 Glasses of Wine), on (daily) and off.

Unfortunately my short term memory and my cognitive abilities is the ***** compared to what they have been a long time ago.

Now I am sober for 2 weeks and want to get this on par as much as possible. I have read your experience on cognitive recovery, which reds like so and so.

But, here come my question, what may be a gold standard protocol to rewire/repair our brains, in terms of:
- Diet type
- Supplements
- memory training
- sports and activities
- .....

E.g. Lecithin, Fish Oil, B Vitamins, Running, 1 hour memory training per day, vocabulary builder, etc.

Do you have any informed opinions on that?

Thomas
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:12 PM
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First ingredient and most important is also the simplest. No alcohol. None. Nada. Zip. SFA. If you intend on seeing permanent recovery to your cognitive ability, that means for good, too.

In my opinion, sleep is the next most important thing. That needs to be solid. I have OSA, so I was fighting a loosing battle until I got the CPAP happening.

Next, I think that regular moderate exercise follows. This gets the blood and oxygen moving around. Finally, I recommend a simple and varied diet with a minimum of processed foods, stressing fresh ingredients, and protein, fats and fiber with complex carbs as you require.

This has what has worked for me. And add patience, grasshopper. We are in this for the long haul.
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:16 PM
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I'm 3.5 months in, and I've noticed I'm making a lot fewer typos lately. Back in the day, it often seemed like my brain wasn't in control of my fingers. I was literally averaging 1-2 typos per sentence, not even kidding. In general, my brain feels a lot more focused now.

I'm eating a lot healthier, take fish oil and a multivitamin a day, brisk 1-hour walk too. Also I do a lot of puzzles, but I've always done those cause they're fun and I like them. Sudoku, crosswords, and even jigsaws. I have a mathematics background, my idea of fun.
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:21 PM
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Thanks freshstart57, I think you are right on by covering the basics first. I am into all you are proposing.

Do you think any additional support, eG Vitamin B or a targeted cognitive training will speed up the process. EG I have read freuqent trainings sessions remembering what you have done this last days will help.

Or, what about "brain fats", for instance lecithin and the like?

Thanks, Thomas

Any suggestions?
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ThomPom View Post

Do you think any additional support, eG Vitamin B or a targeted cognitive training will speed up the process.
I had to take a high quality B-Complex or Balanced B50 twice a day just so I could remember where I kept my vitamins.
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ThomPom View Post
Thanks freshstart57, I think you are right on by covering the basics first. I am into all you are proposing.

Do you think any additional support, eG Vitamin B or a targeted cognitive training will speed up the process. EG I have read freuqent trainings sessions remembering what you have done this last days will help.

Or, what about "brain fats", for instance lecithin and the like?

Thanks, Thomas

Any suggestions?
It's best to see a doctor before beginning any supplement regime. Even over the counter products can have unintended effects. For the most part your body and mind simply needs time to recover...there are no magic bullets unfortunately.
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