Thankfully, the brain is able to recover from a large portion of the damage inflicted by alcohol abuse and alcoholism, but, on the other hand, some of the cognitive problems stemming from these mental illnesses can continue to plague victims (even long after these men and women have stopped drinking). As part of one study, researchers discovered that some problems in the region of the brain that controls motor skills can also continue after rehabilitation. So, we have read the bad news, but is there any good news? According to a team of researchers, the brain actually triggers different sectors to compensate for these damages. In other words, the brain rewires itself to make sure the body functions to full capacity, even if parts of it are damaged. Let’s take a closer look and find out more about this amazing process.
A Close Inspection of Brain Activity
As part of a recent study, Peter R. Martin (a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Vanderbilt Addiction Center) and his team assessed two groups: 8 abstinent alcohol-dependent patients (7 men and 1 woman) and nine healthy non-drinkers (7 women and 2 men). Ultimately, Martin’s group discovered that the abstainers had a much more difficult time performing a finger-tapping activity than members of the healthy control group. However, scans indicated that the former alcoholics had activated the cortical brain region on the same side as the hand they were using. In other words, the brains of these alcoholics had to work overtime to complete simple projects and activities.
Calling Regions to Attention
Overall, Martin and his team did not expect to see this shift of activity in the ipsilateral cortical region in the brains of the test subjects. When a healthy person taps their right hand, the left side of the brain is commanded that movement. However, in the case of the alcoholics, this activity was controlled by the ipsilateral cortex, a place that is not normally activated for this action. As Martin explains, this may be taking place as a failsafe approach, as the brain is attempting to rewire its circuitry to compensate for damages.
Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
As have seen with this study (and additional experiments), alcohol not only damages the brain but also forces this organ to rewire its circuitry (to compensate for damages). However, you must never doubt that you can overcome your problems. Healing is always an option, even during the worst of times. If you are suffering from alcohol use disorder or have a friend or loved one who is enduring this same illness. get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the rehabilitation process and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle.
If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol abuse or addiction troubles today.