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Will getting drunk on weekends affect healing from a concussion?

answered 03:19 PM EST, Mon October 14, 2013
anonymous anonymous
My son was in a bicycle accident in July. He was not wearing a helmet and he got a concussion. It is unclear if he lost consciousness or not. He cannot remember but his friends think he was out for a few seconds. Since that day we thought he had made a full recovery from the dizziness and headaches but his personality seems altered. He is more questioning of authority and he has been drinking on the weekends. He is 18. I am so worried about this but I have been staring at him for months hypervigilent for any long term damage and so I am not sure if I am making something that’s just normal teenage behavior into a concussion symptom. His doctors say he is fine and that any lingering symptoms will go away on their own. What I am really wondering is if he is getting drunk on the weekends is this going to affect his brain healing?

Dr. Stuart Shipko Says...

Alcohol may slow down the rate of recovery from a concussion and typically patients are advised not to drink until they are fully recovered from the concussion.  While there is no way to know for sure, it is unlikely that drinking on the weekends will prevent healing.  It is unclear to me how significant a personality change your son has had.  Often a patient with a concussion will have problems with anxiety, and I wonder if your son might be self medicating concussion related anxiety with the alcohol. You might ask him if this is the case. It would be better if he did not drink at all until fully recovered. 

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Page last updated Oct 14, 2013

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