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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs because of sudden damage to the brain. The American Association of Neurological Surgery explains that TBI “is a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” For some, a TBI may only affect the exact location on the brain where the injury occurred, while for others a TBI could also affect surrounding tissues and cause damage to one’s brain in other areas apart from the initial site. TBI can affect one’s physical, neurological, and/ or emotional functioning. The symptoms that manifest because of a TBI will vary significantly, as they depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, as well as the area of the brain that was injured. The nature of the symptoms can shift as some TBI symptoms may appear immediately and dissipate rather quickly, while others could present several days or weeks later, and some experienced symptoms may evolve over time. There are certain things that can help the brain to recover and others that can hinder the recovery process, such as drinking alcohol. 

Alcohol and TBI

After TBI one’s brain is more sensitive to alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains “ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.” Alcohol is a psychoactive, central nervous system depressant. When an individual drinks alcohol, it enters his or her bloodstream immediately and reaches the brain within five minutes of consumption. Alcohol affects one’s brain and works by slowing down other vital functions in one’s body. Further, alcohol is a neurotoxin that can disrupt communications of the brain and kill brain cells. This, in turn, can make recovery more challenging when one’s brain is trying to heal from TBI. Drinking alcohol can raise one’s risk of subsequent injury. Experts assert that drinking with TBI “also makes cognitive (thinking) problems worse and increases the risk of emotional problems such as depression.” Hence, it is not recommended for individuals with TBI to drink alcohol. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.