How Smoking Can Interfere With Alcoholic’s Recovery

For those who are in the process of detoxing off of alcohol, they may want to also stay away from smoking as well. A recent study shows that smoking impairs the brain functions of those who are recovering from alcohol abuse.

“There have been few longitudinal studies that have specifically studied the effects of cigarette smoking on cognitive recovery in ALC (Alcohol Dependent Individuals) during abstinence. We chose to examine measures of processing speed, learning and memory, and working memory because these abilities have been shown to be adversely affected by alcohol use disorders as well as chronic cigarettes smoking,” explained Timothy C. Durazzo, a researcher in the study.

Since chronic alcohol abuse has such a negative effect on a person’s cognitive skills, it makes sense that researchers wanted to look into anything else that would further impair a person’s brain functioning, especially after they have abstained from alcohol abuse.

Researchers found that those who abstained from alcohol and cigarette smoking showed marked improvement in cognitive skills like processing speed, learning and memory during the first month of abstinence. The group of participants who continued to smoke cigarettes but were still abstinent from alcohol had poorer results on cognitive tests than the other group.

It is no secret that smoking cigarettes is an unhealthy behavior. The smoke from cigarettes appears to be the biggest culprit in hindering a person’s (especially a recovering alcoholic) cognitive abilities. The toxins found in cigarette smoke, paired with the stress that smoking puts on the repertory part of the body, inhibits cognitive functioning. People who have quit drinking but continue to smoke are still contaminating their bodies with toxins that are having a negative effect on their brain’s ability to function.

This new information shows that there are variables that have an effect on a person’s ability to recover from alcohol abuse. While it is highly advisable for those who abuse alcohol to enroll in some sort of treatment center for their problem, this evidence shows that if they quit smoking they will have better chances at maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle with stronger cognitive ability.