Most people are aware that substance abuse – whether it involves the abuse of alcohol, drugs or both – can cause serious physical side effects…

Unfortunately, substance abuse also has the power to permanently and negatively impact the brain. If someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol, there is a chance that they could lose their ability to function normally. In short, though the person you love may not die from substance abuse, he or she could end up being someone entirely different than the person you know and love if they don’t receive the treatment they need to stop drinking or getting high today.

Alcoholism and Brain Damage

Regular, heavy consumption of alcohol or alcoholism is extremely damaging to the body and the brain. Drinking, especially heavy drinking, has a negative effect on every single cell in the body, and this includes brain cells. While one or two episodes of heavy drinking can have a short-term impact on the brain, continued, regular drinking can cause permanent, irreversible brain damage.

Some of the brain and mental problems associated with alcoholism include:

  • Blacking out (e.g., not being able to remember events that happened while drinking)
  • Permanent memory damage or loss
  • Increased risk of head injury that could damage the brain
  • Increased risk of dementia
  • Quickened rate of brain shrinkage

Marijuana and Brain Damage

Like alcohol, marijuana is considered by many to be a recreational drug. The truth is, however, that no drug is recreational, nor is any drug use harmless. Like alcohol, marijuana can cause some severe side effects, especially with continued use, and these effects include brain damage and changes in the way in which the brain functions. Some known mental issues associated with heavy marijuana usage include:

  • Decreased ability to concentrate and focus
  • Decreased problem-solving abilities
  • Decreased planning abilities
  • Memory loss
  • Paranoia
  • Increased risk of mental disorders

Can Brain Damage Be Reversed?

In addition to alcohol and marijuana, there are a host of illegal drugs that people regularly abuse. In fact, some people even abuse prescription medications. Abuse of any kind of drug, prescription or not, can lead to brain damage. While a person can certainly stop brain damage in its tracks by discontinuing use of the substance, many types of brain damage are not reversible once they have been sustained.

Is Recovery Possible?

While a person may not be able to undo all of the effects of substance abuse, getting help and working toward recovery is still worthwhile. Recovery can lead to a much better quality of life for the substance abuser and for everyone that he or she comes into contact with.

Even if someone in your life has already sustained brain damage or other serious consequences as a result of his or her substance abuse, know that it is never too late to get help; no person is ever a lost cause. Encourage your addicted loved one to confront his or her problem through a qualified substance abuse rehabilitation program like the one we provide here at Black Bear Lodge. A professional drug and alcohol abuse and addiction treatment center located outside of Atlanta, we specialize in providing personalized care to meet your loved one’s needs no matter what their current obstacles. Call now to find out how we can help your family member begin the healing process.