Alcohol and the consequences of alcohol abuse are a complex topic that encompasses short-term and long-term effects. If you or someone you loved has developed a problem with alcohol addiction, you’re likely wondering if alcohol damage is permanent. In some ways, severe alcohol abuse can indeed leave lasting scars. However, overcoming addiction and giving your body time to heal can dramatically improve your quality of life and reduce your risk factors for illness and death.
Is Alcohol Damage Permanent?
Excessive alcohol consumption poses serious risks to the brain and liver. The liver has to work extensively to clean alcohol out from your system and drinking too much causes it to become inflamed and fatty. These short-term effects are entirely reversible on the scale of a few weeks, but liver damage can become permanent in long-term, severe cases of alcohol abuse.
Likewise, brain damage occurs over the course of alcohol addiction. In particular, the blackouts that come with excessive drinking damage the hippocampus and can lead to problems with long-term memory retention. Overall, research shows that long-term alcohol abuse even causes brain shrinkage.
Reversing Alcohol Damage
Alcohol damage is extremely serious, and the key to protecting your health is stopping as soon as possible. While there are some lasting effects, quitting alcohol is a life-changing decision that starts to make positive impacts on your life in as little as a week. When you stop excessive alcohol consumption, you immediately free yourself from the immediate-term risks of alcoholism such as the impaired judgment that comes with being drunk and the risk of automobile accidents.
One week into sobriety, you should begin to enjoy some improvement in your sleep duration and quality. Healthy weight loss often follows suit, both because you’ll be feeling better and because you’ve eliminated alcohol as a source of calories. If alcoholism was causing you to experience high blood pressure, then quitting drinking can reverse the trend in as little as a month. In the next month, many people experience lessened inflammation and see their skin start to clear up.
Within three or four months, people often lose the last of their post-withdrawal symptoms such as cravings. You should experience an improvement in energy levels and find yourself feeling more comfortable, happy, and confident in remaining clean. By the one-year mark, most of the damage of alcoholism should be gone and you’ll be reaping the benefits of living clean.
Alcohol can leave permanent damage, but that’s not a reason to give up. In fact, it’s all the more reason to quit sooner so you can minimize these consequences and enjoy the freedom of life free from addiction sooner.
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Live Free SSL provides a network of support programs that can help recovering addicts get sober and stay clean. If you or someone you love need help beating alcoholism, reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help.