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Alcohol and the brain

Old 05-28-2017, 03:45 PM
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Alcohol and the brain

I'm interested in how alcohol addiction affects the human brain and the science behind it. The pleasure/reward system and how it impacts the ability receive pleasure from every day life. How long does it take for the brain to heal?

If anyone has any information on this subject, I would be grateful.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:11 PM
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Google it.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:29 PM
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Look up some tedtalks about it too. I've watched some good ones.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:34 PM
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I don't have any scientific links to share, but it would say it took at least a year, if not longer, for my mind to start really "healing"

Is there a specific issue you are concerned with that has inspired your research?
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:09 PM
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I suppose I'm just interested on what "healing" means when it comes to the brain. I've always heard that it takes a year or two for an alcoholic's brain to get back to normal. What does it mean to be "normal" and how is the alcoholic's brain not "normal"? Besides the obvious physical crqvings. Does your mind seem more clear? I know that I sometimes feel foggy headed and I assume the alcohol is the likely reason.
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:27 PM
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Excess alcohol consumption damages the brain. Black outs are a sign that brin cells are being killed, and they do no replace themselves. Fortunately, perhaps, humans apparently only use a small proportion of the available brain, so when some dies, recovery can mean other undamaged parts take over.

That is until the alcoholic reaches the stage of wet brain, known as Korsakov's Syndrome. In this the brain is so damaged there is no capacity left to recover with. Korsakov patients are permanent residents in psychiatric hospitals, they can no longer function in the world. I have seen people have just one relapse too many and transition into Korsakov's. It is a very sad thing to see. It is the insanity part of insanity or death, the two alternatives to getting sober.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:14 PM
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I feel like there's no simple answer for your questions because brain "healing" is so difficult to quantify or measure, and because brains can differ so much from each other in the way they respond to alcohol and heal from long-term alcohol abuse. Heck, we don't really even understand exactly what it means to be "addicted."

My own experience is that after more than 4 years sober, I still have what I perceive to be "brain issues" involving the way cognition, memory, and emotion interrelate. It all still just feels "off." My "pleasure/reward system" doesn't work properly, or at least it doesn't work anything like the way it used to, and I'm pretty much resigned to the idea that this is how things will be for the rest of my life.

That said, in most ways things are much better than they were when I first got sober. There has been some overall improvement in memory and cognition and well-being, even if I often don't feel "well" or "healed" -- i.e., restored the level of functionality I experienced before I developed an addiction to alcohol.

I also feel intuitively like it was the last few years of my drinking that really escalated the damage. If I could have stopped about 3 or 4 years earlier than I did, I think I would be a lot better off today.

But these are all subjective impressions, and they seem somewhat unusual, at least according to the sample base here on SR. I hope they help address your questions in some small way anyway.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:38 PM
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What makes you feel like those last few years did so much damage? Did your drinking escalate at that time? How long did you drink if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:42 PM
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I really don't think there's any objective guidelines for a "recovery timeline" nor a threshold for what amount of drinking will actually cause brain damage ( or not ) Lindbain. Staying sober can only help though.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:57 PM
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I know everyone is different and there is no clear answer as to a recovery time. I absolutely plan to stay sober regardless of anything I find. I was mainly just wondering if anyone had specific information on alcohol and brain functionality or if someone had any interesting links to articles or information about the topic. I've Googled it of course but I figured some members might have additional information that I hadn't read about already. I appreciate all the feedback so far.
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Old 05-28-2017, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lindbain View Post
What makes you feel like those last few years did so much damage? Did your drinking escalate at that time? How long did you drink if you don't mind me asking?
Because on some level I could feel the damage occurring. Regrettably, because the addiction overpowered my will and reason, I was unable to stop in time.

The question of how much or how long I drank is irrelevant. Just as there's no standard timeline for recovery, there's no standard timeline for how much drinking will result in brain damage.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Andante View Post

The question of how much or how long I drank is irrelevant. Just as there's no standard timeline for recovery, there's no standard timeline for how much drinking will result in brain damage.
Fair enough.

Well, like I said, I appreciate the feedback. I did find some interesting videos on YouTube about the issue. Any additional information is always appreciated of course. Have a nice day everyone.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lindbain View Post
I was mainly just wondering if anyone had specific information on alcohol and brain functionality....
when i drink i dont think rationally.
when i dont drink i think rationally.

specific and simple.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:37 PM
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This is a great book on the effects of alcoholic to our bodies including the brain. I read it after first discovering it in a thread on SR.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:47 PM
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If you google neuroscience and addiction you will find the information. Some are complicated medical abstracts, others are written for laymen. Under the Influence and the Habit Loop are 2 books that both explore the neurological process behind addiction.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...habit-excerpt/
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