Yes! The body is capable of repairing itself once it is completely clear of alcohol in its systems, but it depends entirely on how much a person drinks, how often they drink, and other health conditions a person may have.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the body’s organs have a quicker response rate to alcohol abstinence compared to the body’s nervous system. Alcohol affects multiple systems in the body on its own but underlying medical conditions and medications can alter the body’s ability to recover.
Conversely, alcohol on its own is also the originating cause of multiple health issues. However, most issues can resolve themselves after a few months of abstaining and even regulated alcohol use.
Time is the biggest factor in determining a body’s ability to heal itself. In theory, a person drinking for five years will have a better rebound than someone drinking for 20 years; regardless of age. Essentially, the more damage a person’s body is exposed to from alcohol, the more likely the effects of alcohol will be felt.
While recovery for an older person suffering from alcohol disease is different from that of someone younger, it is still very much possible.
In 2015, a study published in the National Library of Medicine disclosed “evidence suggests that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption is related to neuronal changes that target critical central nervous system (CNS) functions governing homeostasis, emotion regulation, and decision-making. These changes, in turn, may make it significantly more challenging for people to stop drinking and may result in various comorbid, psychological, and physiological symptoms.” The research concludes that the nervous system is the last of the body’s systems to bounce back.
Consistency in a person’s drinking is a large component in evaluating the likelihood of recovering from alcohol disease. Genetics are taken under consideration since they're known to influence a person’s brain chemistry and their overall method of approaching alcohol disease.
If you’ve recently quit drinking, medical professionals advise you to have a check-up with your healthcare provider to give them a baseline of your health. Since alcohol infamously impacts the liver and liver issues can kick off countless other health issues, giving your doctor a clear picture of how they can help you is a vital step in helping yourself recover.
Regardless of your age, if you think you may have a problem with drinking, know you can get help. There is no shame in doing so. There is nothing wrong with wanting to live a healthier and more fulfilling life – the change starts with you.