How long does it take for the brain to recover following alcohol use? This is a question that many of us have been asking ourselves, and below, you will find the answer.
How long is takes the brain to recover following alcohol consumption?
A recent study has found that individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who try to abstain from alcohol over an extended period of time can regain thickness in their cortex, the outermost layer of brain tissue that can become thinner in people with AUD. After 7.3 months of attempted abstinence, the study participants, who had experienced AUD for years, had cortical thickness in 24 out of 34 regions of interest in the brain that was statistically equivalent to control participants.
“There is very limited information in the alcohol use disorder field regarding how human brain structure recovers over longer-term abstinence after treatment,” study author Timothy C. Durazzo told Psypost.
He continued and said this:
“Our study is the first to demonstrate significant recovery of cortical thickness in multiple regions in those seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder over approximately 6-7 months of abstinence after treatment.”
A group of 88 individuals who were diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at three intervals during their period of alcohol abstinence: one week, one month, and 7.3 months in.
Out of these, 23 individuals started the study after 4-5 weeks of abstinence. During the study, two participants relapsed between the first and second intervals, while 43 participants relapsed after the second interval.
Their results were compared to those of 45 control subjects who did not have AUD or smoke.
The study found that in 19 of the individuals with AUD, the rate of change between one week and one month of abstinence was faster compared to the rate of change between one month and 7.3 months of abstinence.
Several of these regions are “cortical nodes in functional circuits involved in salience appraisal, executive functions, mood/affect processing and regulation, self-monitoring, behavioral control and default mode,” the authors write.
The notes continued and said the following:
“The more rapid thickness recovery in these critical functional regions during early abstinence may relate to improved integrity of functions/abilities necessary to maintain extended sobriety.”