The question remains, however, whether such extensive damage can be reversed after abstaining from alcohol. Researchers have studied the effects of abstinence on the brains of alcohol-dependent individuals by comparing subjects recovering from years of alcohol abuse with those who do not drink or drink minimally. Scientists have also investigated changes in brain volume in initial versus sustained abstinence in one set of subjects. Although the effects of abstinence on the alcohol-abused brain vary, it appears that we display at least some ability to recover from the effects of excessive drinking. Future neuroimaging studies should clarify the full extent and potential for recuperation.
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