Friday, May 10, 2013

The Result Of Smoking On Alcohol Recovery

A recent study at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) shows a link between tobacco use and the speed at which the brain recovers from alcohol abuse. While abstaining from alcohol has definite benefits for the brain, if one continues to smoke tobacco during recovery, the brain will not rebound.


According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, scientists have known for a long time that excessive alcohol use damages the brain. This damage is reversable, and, until recently, it was believed that as long as the alcoholic abstains from drinking, his or her brain will continue to heal.


Long-term alcohol use can cause permanent memory loss and vision problems, according to the National Institutes of Health. The poor diet of the alcoholic often leads to a severe thiamine deficiency causing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a common brain disease among alcoholics.

Alcohol and Nicotine

According to Neurobiologists at the University of Texas, the link between alcohol abuse and the use of nicotine is well-established. Over 80 percent of alcoholics smoke cigarettes. Furthermore, according to a study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, smoking nicotine actually causes an increase in alcohol consumption.

Effects on Recovery

UCSF's Anderson Mon, Ph.D. and Graeme F. Mason, Ph.D. of Yale University, used MRIs to study the brains of alcoholics, both smokers and non-smokers. After five weeks of abstinence from alcohol the brains of the non-smokers recovered to normal function whereas the brains of smokers showed no change.


The UCSF study shows that although the recovering alcoholic will enjoy other health benefits, his or her brain will not recover fully until smoking is stopped as well.

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