How Long Does It Take Your Body To Heal From Addiction?
The science of addiction has made things abundantly clear over the last few decades. Addiction is truly a disease, and just like any other disease, it takes people in recovery some time to fully get over their symptoms. Healing from addiction requires more than spending a few days in rehab. To fully understand addiction’s impact on the body, it is paramount to look at the total addiction timeline so that you can take more active steps in overcoming this disease.
Addiction’s Impact on the Brain
One of the most clear-cut signs of the severity of addiction is that it does actually change a person’s biology. Similar to how cardiovascular diseases impact the heart and alter its functionality, addiction changes the way the brain works. Cat scans show that brains of addicts emit less activity. This drop in activity is particularly noticeable in the frontal cortex. This is the area of the brain that helps with decision making and judgment.
Part of this impact is due to what addiction does to the brain. Every time you do something pleasurable, from eating sweets to playing video games, your brain released dopamine. This is normally a positive thing, but drugs abuse this system. This is the reason healing from addiction takes a while. It feels good to do, so people do not want to give it up. Therefore, they consume the drug in greater quantities just so that they can attain that same high.
It Is Possible for the Brain (And Other Body Parts) To Recover
Researchers have studied the brain of a cocaine addict. After 14 months of abstinence from the drug, the dopamine transporter levels returned to nearly normal functionality. The same effects are present in the brains of people addicted to alcohol and marijuana. In general, it takes most people between one to two years to recover from addiction. However, more research is necessary in this field. Scientists have only just begun to examine the brains of addicts, so more studies are required to determine the full neurotoxic effects of drugs on the brain.
Other body parts will also benefit from healing from addiction. Alcohol addiction takes a substantial toll on the liver. This organ can repair itself, but it takes time. It also depends on the extent of the damage. By going sober and maintaining a healthy diet, the symptoms of fatty liver can typically reverse. Even the symptoms of early-stage cirrhosis can reverse if the person stops early enough. However, in the event an alcoholic has advanced liver cirrhosis, then the only path forward is with a liver transplant.
Some Symptoms May Never Recover
Depending on the full extent of the addiction, some symptoms may last with the person for the rest of life. For example, heavy meth users can completely lose the part of the brain that helps with motor coordination. This can be lifelong, and it is similar to what people with Parkinson’s disease go through. Additionally, people on meth often pick and scratch at their skin until it bleeds, leading to the formation of scars. Surgery may help, but it is possible the person will bear those scars forever.
Go Through Recovery Now
The longer a person is on an illicit substance, the more difficult it will be to recover. It will also take a longer time for the brain to heal, so it is best to seek treatment as soon as you recognize a problem. Clean Recovery Centers is here to help. In addition to our vast array of resources, we also provide a wellness program to help maximize addicts’ outcomes. Get in touch today for yourself or for a loved one by requesting more information online. Healing from addiction is possible. It just starts with the decision to get better.