Posted on September 17, 2018 on UPMC website
If you have a concussion, drinking caffeine or alcohol, or using illicit drugs, can play havoc with your recovery.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that makes the brain highly sensitive and vulnerable to the effects of these substances, explains Alicia Sufrinko, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist with the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
“Alcohol and illicit drugs — from marijuana to opioids and psychedelics — particularly affect the body’s central nervous system. Although we don’t yet have well-controlled studies, we do know that some drugs damage or kill brain cells, which may make recovery from concussion take longer or make it more complicated,” she says. “They can impact your judgment, balance, and coordination, putting you at increased risk of falls and other injuries — including further head injury.”
Some important facts you should know:
“The bottom line: Limit your caffeine to your normal pre-concussion routine, unless it’s excessive, and don’t drink it late in the day. Alcohol is off limits until your concussion expert okays you to do so,” advises Dr. Sufrinko. “And while illicit drugs should always be avoided, that’s especially true during this important time of healing for your brain.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, please call the National Institute on Drug Abuse at 800-662-HELP(4357).