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Can I Drink Alcohol After A Traumatic Brain Injury?

alcoholic-1850052_1280-300x200.jpgAlcohol use and traumatic brain injury can both have a significant impact on an individual's ability to function and perform basic tasks. While there is nothing that prevents an individual from consuming alcohol following a traumatic brain injury, the following are important considerations for individuals with TBI.

Alcohol Impedes Recovery

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury takes years. During this time, the body will actively work to rebuild connections and synapses within the brain. Even moderate alcohol use slows this process. For this reason, it is advisable not to tip a glass prior to getting a doctor's approval while living with a serious brain injury.

Moreover, alcohol use following a traumatic brain injury can magnify any cognitive issues that exist following the injury. The presence of TBI can also have a severe impact on an individual's state of mind and mood. Indeed, depression is 8 times more frequent in the year following a TBI than it is for people without an injury. The effects of alcohol on an injured brain are such that the combination of TBI and alcohol use can lead to permanent, irreparable damage.

Alcohol use combined with TBI also significantly lowers libido, depresses testosterone production, and reduces sexual satisfaction of both men and women. These effects can persist for days or even weeks after the person has had their "last drink."

Alcohol & Other Medications

One of the most important things to consider following a TBI is the interaction between prescriptions and alcohol. Many drugs will react negatively to the presence of alcohol, and the combination of the two within the body can have fatal consequences. For example, using alcohol with anti-anxiety medication or pain medication can multiply the effects of the drugs within the bloodstream. This can cause an accidental overdose that can lead to death.

Alcohol Can Lead to Additional Injuries

Studies have shown that patients who drink following a TBI are between 3 and 8 times more likely to develop a second TBI. The effects of alcohol are enhanced following a TBI, which has a significant impact on balance and coordination. Individuals with TBI are more likely to trip, stumble, fall, and cause further injuries to themselves.

In the end, personal injury lawyers caution TBI survivors to avoid all alcohol use until their physician has cleared them to drink. Doing so can help the body recover from the injury and can have significant, positive impacts on the individual's long-term health, earning capacity, and quality of life.

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