Alcohol Brain Fog: How to Heal Your Brain

If you or a loved one wants or needs to stop drinking but is afraid of experiencing alcohol withdrawal, it’s important to educate yourself on the withdrawal process. If there are no medical causes of your brain fog, talk to your therapist, if you haven’t already. People often don’t realize that impaired concentration, slow thoughts, and poor memory are all common symptoms of depression. Lack of motivation and energy and emotional numbness are more well-known symptoms. Psychotherapy, possibly with the assistance of medication, can help get these under control and that should improve your symptoms. However, some medications like beta-blockers have cognitive side effects, so you may want to avoid those.

Those who sought help from their healthcare providers and were given medications to alleviate their symptoms reported milder, shorter-lived symptoms overall than those who quit on their own. For many, the first day of abstinence usually follows a day of very heavy alcohol consumption—either a binge or a multi-day bender. Alcohol withdrawal seizures and PWS have been linked to both GABA and NMDA dysregulation. In addition, valproic acid at therapeutic levels appears to be effective at inhibiting seizures induced by the stimulatory effect of NMDA receptors (Czuczwar et al. 1985).

Does Brain Fog Clear? What Happens When It Does?

This has to do with alcohol’s effect on the brain, namely how it affects cognitive functioning. Alcohol use contributes to brain fog by impacting the way neurotransmitters function in your body and altering your brain waves. Symptoms include tremors, seizures, hyperactivity, extreme sensitivity, and confusion. Disorientation – Usually in tandem with a co-occurring mental health disorder, withdrawal can lead to states of confusion, speech issues, and memory loss. Patients of alcohol withdrawal aged 55 and older are also more likely to experience disorientation. Seizures – Even without other withdrawal symptoms, seizures can onset after one to two days, but can begin as early as seven hours after quitting.

brain fog alcohol withdrawal

Learning to identify feelings and respond appropriately is a new skill for persons seeking sobriety. Counseling can help those seeking long term emotional sobriety of uncover new methods of coping. The body systems must work harder to process the toxin effectively to remove it from the system. For persons seeking sobriety, detoxification is necessary to withdrawal if physical dependence upon alcohol is present. Even if a physical addiction is not noted, alcohol affects the filtration systems of the body and weakens the body.

Alcohol Withdrawal Brain Fog, How To Start

DT’s are a serious manifestation of alcohol dependence that develops 1 to 4 days after the onset of acute alcohol withdrawal in persons who have been drinking excessively for years. Signs of DT’s include extreme hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system,1 along with hallucinations. Women experiencing DT’s appear to exhibit autonomic symptoms less frequently than men. Co-occurring medical problems may obscure the diagnosis and treatment of DT’s or worsen the outcome. Such medical problems include altered blood chemistry, certain infections, and Wernicke’s syndrome (see the following section for a discussion on Wernicke’s syndrome) (Saitz 1995). The risk of death is reduced, however, in patients receiving adequate medication and medical support.

brain fog alcohol withdrawal

Most people see improvements within just a few months and can expect dopamine levels to be back to normal after a year or so (depending on how heavily you drank). How long it takes for your mind to recover after over-consumption of alcohol depends on the severity of the damage done. The more intense or frequent the alcoholic blackouts are, the longer sober house it will take your brain’s neurotransmitters to return to normal activity levels. Generally, though, it may take up to two weeks for the brain’s chemistry to return to normal after experiencing extended periods of alcoholic blackout. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle post-addiction, but it can also be good to help with brain fog.

Six Ways to Manage Pain in Addiction Recovery

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, speak to one of our recovery advisors today. They can help give you guidance as you take the next steps toward long-term sobriety. The benefit of detoxing from alcohol in a hospital or in-patient rehabilitation center is that you or your loved one can receive 24-hour medical supervision while going through withdrawal. Individuals in these settings may be given medications (such as Benzodiazepines) to reduce anxiety, nausea, and seizures.

Our program includes evidence-based therapies, 12-step philosophy, and physical fitness activities that address addiction’s physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. With a focus on individualized treatment and support, Renewal Lodge can provide a path toward long-term recovery for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder. It is important to note that recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong process, and the brain may continue to heal and recover for years after quitting.

If physical symptoms continue after 11 days of abstinence, seek medical attention. Those persistent symptoms might have some other cause than alcohol withdrawal. Quitting alcohol consumption affects drinkers’ sleep patterns differently. Others struggle with insomnia and poor-quality sleep long after they quit drinking. Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations are frequently experienced in acute, complicated AW or DT’s. Hallucinations that are not connected with DT’s occur in 3 to 10 percent of patients during severe AW from 12 hours to 7 days after cessation or reduction of alcohol consumption (Platz et al. 1995).

Can you rewire your brain from alcohol?

Although many of the changes that occur in the brain because of alcohol addiction can be permanent, scientists have discovered that with recovery it is possible to rewire the brain once more.

For the vast majority of people, the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal have passed by day seven. The heart is a major site of alcohol-induced organ damage, including disturbances of heartbeat rhythm (Smith 1995). For example, the “holiday heart syndrome” consists of episodes of abnormal cardiac rhythms following a bout of drinking (Smith 1995). Because arrhythmia generally occurs after a binge, rather than during intoxication, AW may be a contributing factor to the occurrence of alcohol-related arrhythmia (Smith 1995).

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