When It Comes to Alcoholism, White Matter Matters

New research shows: when women stop drinking, their brains recover more quickly than men. “White matter” has often been linked to alcoholism, because it “forms the connections between neurons, allowing communication between different areas of the brain.”

This basically means that women may have an easier time during the recovery process than men, neurologically and/or physically-speaking. It also means that side effects of alcoholism, like memory problems and other brain deficits, are a result of a decrease in that white matter stuff.

According to Psych Central, the researchers “examined brain images from 42 abstinent alcoholic men and women who drank heavily for more than five years and 42 nonalcoholic men and women.”

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Here’s what they found:

  • The number of daily drinks had a strong impact on alcoholic women, with the volume loss 1.5 to 2 percent for each additional drink.
  • In men, white matter brain volume in the corpus callosum recovered at a rate of 1 percent per year for each year of abstinence.
  • For people who abstained less than a year, the researchers found evidence of increased white matter volume and decreased ventricular volume in women, but not in men.
  • For people in recovery for more than a year, those signs of recovery disappeared in women and became apparent in men. Interesting!

Do you think the addiction recovery industry will tweak its processes to cater more to the differences between men and women? 

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