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Alcohol Brain Fog: Causes, Symptoms, & Care

By changing your brain, alcohol can therefore lead to worse memory and impaired judgments, among other changes. Pursuing cognitive behavioral therapy is one part of alcohol addiction treatment.

Usually this comes in the form of a painful headache, fatigue and nausea. Just as common, but less talked about is the mental fog, anxiety and irritability that follows us, which can last multiple days after. Most of us have our own ways of getting through this all-too-common experience — whether it be water, painkillers, coffee, food or exercise. But these approaches only help us cope, rather than addressing the issue before it occurs.

What causes brain fog? The metabolic health connection

Concentration problems are not uncommon for those with a substance abuse disorder. See how rehab can help with this issue, as well as stress & insomnia. A hangover is also kind of like a mini withdrawal symptom from alcohol, Dr. White says. “If you like drinking because it produces euphoria and reduces anxiety, the next day you get a rebound effect,” he explains. You might notice an increase in anxiety and shakiness, or perhaps just generally feel “blah.” Waking up with a hangover can make you feel a little bit dumb, and not just because you regret ripping shots of whiskey and sending Snapchats of your face in a dog filter to everyone you know.

alcohol brain fog

You may have used alcohol to become more outgoing, manage stress, or combat depression. Even moderate users or those who have been drinking in excess for a short period of time can experience mental fog, anxiety, and mood changes. They then develop healthy thought patterns that help them cope with stress and refuse alcohol. Alcohol detox program and receive medication to wean themselves off drinks.

Concentration Problems and Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Some of the effects, like slurred speech and loss of balance, can be very obvious. Dr. Carlos Tirado serves as the Medical Director for Renewal Lodge. He is board certified in general and addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Tirado attended medical school at The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center and completed his residency in general psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

  • But a person who did not previously experience brain fog may experience it during or after withdrawal.
  • How to Turn Your Alcohol Abuse into Recovery – By receiving the appropriate treatment and support for your individual needs, you can begin to recover from an alcohol abuse disorder.
  • In his spare time he enjoys gaming and spending time with his step daughter and significant other.
  • The brain consumes about20% of the body’s glucoseto supporthigh-energy activitiesinvolved in cognition andregulating every process in the body.
  • Continuous glucose monitoring can serve as a biofeedback tool to gain clarity into how personal glucose levels and mood are related.
  • According to research, when chronic alcohol consumers stop drinking, grey matter shrinkage in the brain begins to reverse within two weeks.

It’s largely a result of terrible nutrition, which is also common among heavy drinkers. This increases the effects of GABA in your brain, and leads to the relaxation we feel. But after the alcohol has been removed from your system, the opposite effect happens.

Retraining the Brain After Chronic Opioid Exposure

We’ve all woken up feeling rough after having a couple drinks the night before. You shouldn’t drink any more alcohol so your brain makeup can go back to normal sooner. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down brain activity and affects how a person acts, speaks, and moves. An alcoholic blackout is an episode of amnesia alcohol brain fog in which a person actively engages in events while not remembering what transpired while under the influence of alcohol. We help thousands of people change their lives with our treatment programs. After cutting back on alcohol, Pagano said, damaged regions of the brain can start to “light up” again on brain scans.

alcohol brain fog

While the damage you can inflict on your brain with heavy alcohol use is disturbing, it is entirely possible to experience recovery from addiction and begin to heal from the inside out. Alcohol can damage the brain, but most cases of brain fog do not come from brain damage. If someone experiences brain fog in the weeks after their withdrawal, they may have a mental health problem. But a person who did not previously experience brain fog may experience it during or after withdrawal. Brain fog during withdrawal does not differ substantially from brain fog during addiction. The cognitive effects of poor metabolic health have been observed in numerous studies on people with and without diabetes.

Causes of Concentration Problems in Recovery

Brain fog, also sometimes called cloudy brain, is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that involve unclear thinking and cognitive impairment. Brain fog can occur for many reasons, such as hormone changes, medical conditions, or drug use. “Chronic drinking can really alter a person’s personality,” said Pagano. “I’ve seen cases where I wouldn’t recognize a patient based on how they’re acting.” Brain damage can also be caused by cirrhosis of the liver, another common complication of long-term, heavy drinking. However, a 2018 study published in The Lancet suggests that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. Even low levels of consumption can harm your health; higher levels of consumption have worse effects. Some of those effects, like slurred speech and diminished memory, can be quite clear; others, like long-term cellular damage, may not be as obvious.

alcohol brain fog

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