Why do they not recommend that concussed people drink alcohol?
April 6, 2006 12:36 AM   Subscribe

Why do they not recommend that concussed people drink alcohol?

All the online resources I've found thus far don't get to the point (e.g. what short or long-term harm will drinking do to a concussed person). Yes, I'm concussed right now. And yeah I've already seen a doctor. Silly me forgot to ask him about this though. And yeah I got slightly tipsy after suffering a pretty severe blow to my noggin. The poor car I was driving wasn't so lucky. That is all.
posted by sjvilla79 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Because you are more likely to fall and do more damage to yourself.

Sorry to hear about your head and the car.
posted by kechi at 12:49 AM on April 6, 2006

There's a few reasons

- If your condition worsens, you might not be able to respond to a caregiver. This could cause a misdiagnosis.
- You might not be able to recognize warning signs of a more serious injury. This could result in delayed access to care.
- If you were given painkillers, there can be a reaction between your medication and the alcohol.
- Your body will be slower to heal. When you consume alcohol, your body considers it a poison and considers its first priority to get the alcohol out of your system, not heal your injury.
- Studies have shown that the symptoms of a concussion are very similar to the effects drugs such as alcohol. So if you drink alcohol, the effect is greatly intensified.
posted by aristan at 12:50 AM on April 6, 2006

One reason: after concussion it's important to be weary of a degeneration in neurological status indicative of a more serious complication of head injury. If such a complication occurred, a person taking alcohol might not notice because (a) their judgement is impaired; and/or (b) "Oh, it's just the alcohol, I'm fine"... catastrophe.

On preview: aristan's (is that nickname a reference to "The Magnificent Nose" book?) second point.
posted by teem at 1:02 AM on April 6, 2006

Because it makes you funk as druck.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:26 AM on April 6, 2006

Why do they not recommend that concussed people drink alcohol?

Seems that the poster is asking why the doctors do not emphasise abstinence from alcohol, leading him/her to drink a little. Most posters so far have answered as if s/he asked the opposite question: Why don't they recommend that concussed people do not drink alcohol?

And I don't have an answer for that.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:06 AM on April 6, 2006

Why do they not recommend that concussed people drink alcohol? = Why do they recommend that concussed people not drink alcohol? (In this case, at least.)

Alcohol thins the blood and reduces the body's capacity to heal. Also, it is a vasodilator, and so it may cause swelling in the concussed area, which really not something you want when you've taken a knock to the braincase.
posted by jenovus at 9:18 AM on April 6, 2006

. . . which is really not . . .
posted by jenovus at 9:20 AM on April 6, 2006

Bottom line? Alcohol is a poison. That nice toasty warm, slightly disoriented feeling you get when drinking is a side effect of your body coping with the damage that it causes.

In a normal healthy person, the damage is relatively transitory, heals quickly, and you go on to drink another day. In a person who is already recovering from other damage, causing yet more damage is contraindicated.
posted by tkolar at 9:57 AM on April 6, 2006

My concussion confused me to the point where I thought that drinking would cause further (perhaps irreversible) damage to my brain. Thanks for all the responses though. I'm feeling much better today too. Of course it's just a shame that unfortunately the car I was driving has been written off.
posted by sjvilla79 at 6:20 PM on April 6, 2006

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