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How Long Does It Take the Brain to Recover from Addiction?


Brain patched

Recovery from addiction is a very individualized process; each person has a unique medical and drug history, mental illness history, family history, demographic, childhood history, and more. These factors are important to a person’s recovery because they all can clue healthcare professionals in on what would be most effective to incorporate in that client’s treatment program. Many previous studies have shown that a brain with addiction looks significantly different than a healthy brain. Addictive drugs can quickly flood the brain with “feel-good” chemicals such as dopamine, causing cells in the brain to miscommunicate. Addiction causes the brain to rely on these chemicals to function properly.

Much of what a treatment program consists of is retraining the brain and body to function without drug use. This won’t happen immediately – it will take some time, just as your addiction took some time to manifest and affect your brain and body. Some studies suggest that based on numerous factors including the type of drug used and the method used for detoxification, the brain does not fully heal, even after prolonged abstinence. However, this does not mean that significant improvements cannot be made. Ultimately, you want to speak with your healthcare team to get an accurate assessment of brain damage done by addiction and plans to restore it.

What can be done in the meantime to promote brain function restoration? A 2016 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine denoted that medicines prescribed during rehabilitation may assist in preventing relapse while the brain is recovering, and normal emotional and decision-making capacities are being restored. There are several other factors that have been shown to facilitate restoration of the brain:

  • Having an adequate support system
  • Engaging in healthy exercises and activities
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Identifying and creating action plans for triggers
  • Utilizing healthy coping mechanisms
  • Changing social group to that of people who promote recovery

Don’t wait to begin taking the steps needed to become a healthier, happier you. Recovery from addiction is possible, but it is a lifelong process and should be taken day-by-day.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.