Heal Your Brain
Heal Your Brain when recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. This an ongoing process. While you were actively using substances, you likely got used to feeling tired and groggy. But now that you are sober, you’re probably wondering when you will feel normal again. There are Many Factors that Determine how Quickly your Brain Heals, so it’s important to be patient. It took time for the damage to occur, and it will take time for the damage to reverse itself.
What Factors Influence Your Brain’s Ability to Heal?
Each person is unique so there is no set time frame for when you will start to feel like yourself. But you can gain a more realistic perspective of your journey by considering these four factors:
- Length of Time. How long have you been using drugs and alcohol? If it has been many years as opposed to a few months, it will take your body longer to recover. The longer you’ve been an addict, the more damage has been done to your body.
- Type of Drugs. What substances did you abuse? All substances are addictive and can cause damage to the brain and body but in different ways. Also, it’s possible to suffer from Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), which can last years after substance abuse.
- Method of Detox. What type of detox did you do? Detoxing in a medically supervised drug rehab in Phoenix with access to medications and therapies will help you kick the habit easier.
- Amount of Drugs. The number of drugs you took also impacts how quickly your body will recover. If you were taking large amounts of drugs, particularly through snorting or injection, it will take longer for your brain to heal.
Effects of Long-Term Drug Use on the Brain
The brain is constantly changing. When you were using drugs, there were changes happening to the neurons in the reward sector. This is why you felt good when you used the drugs, as a surge of dopamine was released. These changes are felt in the body for a short time, but they stick around longer in the brain.
Here are the three areas of the brain that are most affected by substance abuse:
- Brain Stem. The brain stem is responsible for controlling your heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. Drugs can make the brain stem unhealthy, negatively impacting your functioning.
- Cerebral Cortex. This part of your brain is responsible for problem-solving and decision-making. Drugs and alcohol can cause Structural Abnormalities in the Cerebral Cortex.
- Limbic System. The limbic system deals with emotion and memory. It’s an essential part of why people develop addictions.
How Long Does it Take the Brain to Heal?
The brain can start the healing process as soon as you enter outpatient treatment in Phoenix, but the rate at which it heals varies. Healing has to do with the drugs you took and the specific damage they did. While some changes in the brain may be more permanent, the brain does have the ability to heal itself.
For example, just one time using MDMA Can Lead to Subtle Changes in the Brain such as cell damage and decreased blood flow in certain regions. Marijuana can kill brain cells and cause you to struggle with memory problems and concentration even when you’re not high. That said, researchers are finding that much of the brain can heal after 1-2 years of being sober.
Of course, there are many ways to make the healing process more efficient. This has to do with the food you eat, how often you exercise, your sleeping habits, and your immune system. You will also do better in recovery if you attend therapy and group meetings because you will get to meet others who can help you through the hard parts of recovery.
What are the Best Ways to Heal the Brain?
As you work toward healing the brain, here are some key things you’ll want to do:
Eat Nutritious Food
To regenerate new brain cells, you’ll need to Eat a Balanced Diet that Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids like fish, nuts and seeds, plant oils, and fortified foods. These foods have been shown to increase the production of new neurons.
Brain cell regeneration may also be supported by flavonoids, resveratrol, and cumin which can be found in foods like blueberries, cocoa, red wine, and curry. Avoid saturated fats like butter, cheese, and bacon because they can cause obesity, cardiovascular disease, and brain damage.
Exercise on a Regular Basis
Exercise can also rejuvenate the brain, which is why it’s one of the best defenses we have against dementia and Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise encourages new brain cell growth, and it can improve memory, improve focus, and sharpen your mind. Some of the best exercises you can do for this purpose include running, swimming, yoga, biking, and dancing.
Protect your Brain from Stress
Stress Takes a Toll on the Brain. It affects memory, causes inflammation, and disrupts other critical brain functions. This is why stress is associated with numerous health conditions and is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. While recovery can be stressful, it’s incredibly important that you have ways to cope with stress.